A Pastoral Statement from Bishop Michael Kennedy, Diocese of Armidale

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I have recently returned from the Public Hearing of the Royal Commission into the response of Catholic Church authorities to allegations of child sexual abuse by John Joseph Farrell. The hearing has not formally concluded but has been adjourned. In due course the Royal Commission will publish a report on their findings and recommendations.

This statement is my personal reflection following my attendance at the Royal Commission Hearing. It is my hope that by reading this you may come to an understanding of my own depth of sorrow and shame for the failings of our Church and Diocese and that you might be informed of the changes that have been taking place in the Diocese to ensure that our parishes are safe places for all the children and vulnerable in our care.

Listening to the victims and survivors

Along with others from the Diocese I sat in the Royal Commission hearing room and listened to the statements and evidence given by the survivors. I was deeply moved by their testimony. It is crucial that the Church truly hear their cry.

I listened to two survivors. I heard of their horror, pain, fear and hurt. I heard of their betrayal, of their inhuman treatment, and of the torment they continue to suffer as a result of the abuse they endured. I heard of the long lasting effects this abuse has had on their lives. Their courage and integrity shone through in their testimony. They are brave and dignified men whom I hold in high esteem. I thank them for their testimony and assure them that I will never forget.

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