The church must deal openly with a very painful history

The Courier

IF anything, the evidence provided to the state inquiry into institutionalised child abuse yesterday confirmed much of what has long been suspected about the handling of offenders in the Catholic Church.

The necessary knowledge and understanding about taking actions and informing authorities about abuse was simply not understood by church leaders.

The major failings of those presented with information about abuse was that they could not, or refused to, put the victims’ needs ahead of the perpetrators.

A serious example – that of the church’s handling of convicted paedophile Gerard Ridsdale – was laid bare on the public record yesterday.

According to recently appointed Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird: “Dismissal was not the first option. They (paedophile priests) would go to be treated to correct the behaviour, which proved to be a terrible mistake with tragic consequences. Gerald Ridsdale should have been taken out of the ministry.”

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