TO THE PEOPLE OF THE DIOCESE OF LISMORE
On the 9th of December 2013 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will commence hearing evidence about the establishment, operation and review of the Towards Healing process by the Catholic Church.
One of the case studies to be reviewed by the Royal Commission will involve a deceased priest of the Diocese of Lismore.
It is expected that there will be media coverage, both local and national.
The events that occurred are historic. But they are none-the-less disturbing and unacceptable. The emotional and psychological pain endured by the victims of clerical child sexual abuse and their families is real and is acknowledged.
As the present bishop of the diocesan Church, I again give my public, unreserved and heartfelt apology to all victims of this heinous crime.
The Catholic Church supports the work of the Royal Commission. Through it, the Diocese of Lismore will work to ensure that the whole truth is revealed.
The current procedures and practices for Church personnel to protect the vulnerable, including children, are vastly different and improved from those of the past. The Diocese of Lismore is fully compliant with NSW child protection legislation.
If you are aware of any allegations against Church personnel or have been abused yourself, I strongly encourage you to contact the police on 132 111.
The Catholic Church also has in place its sexual abuse victim’s pastoral and reparation scheme, Towards Healing, which will be able to provide help and assistance. Towards Healing in NSW can be contacted on 1300 369 977.
For more information on the Royal Commission you can go to its website:
More information about how the Catholic Church is approaching the Royal Commission can be found at the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s website: www.tjhcouncil.org.au.
I trust and pray that through this process the Catholic Church can face and address its failings and become closer to Christ, our Saviour and our hope.
Most Rev. Geoffrey H. Jarrett,
Bishop of Lismore.
1 December 2013