Bishops strike conciliatory note on RC

The Age

November 30, 2012

Barney Zwartz

AUSTRALIA’S Catholic bishops will set up a 10-member committee, including laypeople, to oversee its response to the recently announced Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Responding to widespread criticism of the defensive attitude of Cardinal George Pell last week, the bishops struck a more conciliatory tone, saying that “painful and difficult as [the commission] might be for the church, it is nothing compared to the hurt of those who have suffered sexual abuse”.

The bishops announced on Friday that they had appointed a supervisory group of bishops and members of religious orders to appoint and oversee a new Council for the Royal Commission.

This follows comments on Wednesday by Sister Annette Cunliffe on behalf of Australia’s 180 religious orders that that laypeople and non-Catholics needed to be involved to improve transparency and openness and ensure it was not seen as an internal plan or cover-up.

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