Catholic bishop says Pell evidence completes 'disturbing picture' of church's handling of child abuse
By Liz Farquhar And Emma Tonkin
March 2, 2016
|Bill Wright, the Bishop of the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese, says Cardinal Pell's evidence has completed a disturbing picture of the way the church dealt with child sexual abuse.|
|Sex abuse victim Peter Gogarty talks to the ABC.|
The Catholic bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Bill Wright says Cardinal George Pell's evidence to the Royal Commission completes a 'disturbing picture' of how the church dealt with child sexual abuse.
Bishop Wright issued a statement in the wake of this week's evidence from Rome by Cardinal Pell to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.
He said he would not be providing a running commentary on his evidence, which he said was ultimately the Royal Commission's role to hear and assess.
But Bishop Wright acknowledged Hunter region survivors of abuse would be finding it difficult to hear the 'manifold failings' of the church to protect children.
He said the evidence made clear the need for structured, thorough and independent oversight of all organisations providing services to children.
"It also shows the need for a consistent response to those who have suffered abuse," he said.
"I express my strongest support for the establishment of national redress scheme and uniform child protection standards as a way forward for the community.
"The Catholic and Anglican Bishops of New South Wales recently called on the State Government to extend the NSW Ombudsman's oversight of all church and community group activities involving children.
"I encourage the local Hunter community to join us in advocating this change by talking to their local member."
Abuse survivor calls for meeting with Pope
The Pope is both morally and spiritually obliged to (meet survivors). The very least he can do is talk to these people while they are in Rome.
Peter Gogarty, clergy abuse survivor
A Hunter Valley clergy sexual abuse survivor described this week's testimony by Cardinal Pell as highly distressing.
Peter Gogarty, who has published a book about his abuse at the hands of the now dead paedophile priest, James Fletcher, said that despite having nothing to do with Cardinal Pell, he was surprised by how his testimony had impacted on him.
"I'm surprised by it because I've had nothing directly to do with Cardinal Pell," he said.
"But it just really distresses me that he just seems to be so overtly dispassionate and disinterested in the impact that the Catholic abuse family has had on the individual survivors and victims.
"It's really upset me."
Mr Gogarty said the Pope has a moral and spiritual obligation to meet with survivors of abuse, who are in Rome to hear Cardinal Pell's testimony.
The survivors have written a letter to the Pope to formally request a meeting.
Mr Gogarty said they deserve to be heard.
"The Pope is both morally and spiritually obliged to do that.
"I think he only has to look at the teachings of Jesus and what Jesus had to say about this and Jesus said he was the shepherd of his entire flock.
"The very least he can do is talk to these people while they are in Rome."
Mr Gogarty said one positive impact of Cardinal Pell's evidence to the Royal Commission was the international attention it had received.
"I think in a roundabout sort of way Cardinal Pell giving his evidence from Rome has really attracted the attention of the Australian community and probably the more broad worldwide community as to what's been going on."