Kate Campbell, PerthNow
August 26, 2017
“IT’S more than shameful, because shameful is about how embarrassed in a sense you feel, it’s really horror that people’s lives have been so badly affected.”
Dealing with the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church to its core was Timothy Costelloe’s first priority when he became Archbishop of Perth in 2012.
Five-and-a-half years later and amid an ongoing royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, it’s still the biggest issue facing him and his church.
The 63-year-old former schoolteacher used words like “evil”, “shocking”, “confronting”, “shameful” and “painful” to describe how nearly one in 10 priests in the Catholic Perth archdiocese was accused of sexually abusing children between 1950 and 2010 and how “bafflingly inadequate” the response was from church leaders.
When asked if he could guarantee his archdiocese was now paedophile-free, Archbishop Costelloe said: “What I can guarantee is that in this archdiocese we’re sending out a message that today this is the most dangerous place for a paedophile to come because we’re on to them, we’re looking for them and we will deal with them.”
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