Bishop's Apology to Women He "Hurt"

By Jodie Minus
The Australian
April 29, 2011

A RETIRED bishop from the largest diocese in NSW has become the most senior Catholic figure in Australia to make a public apology for his alleged inappropriate behaviour with some "young adults".

Christopher Henry Toohey, 59, wrote in a statement released yesterday on the church's website that, since retiring from the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese in western NSW in 2009, he had had time to reflect on his life.

"My behaviour within the context of my relationships with some young adults in my pastoral care during the early years of my ministry was not consistent with that required of a good person," Bishop Toohey said.

"I sincerely regret the hurt I have caused to these people and their families. In the light of these reflections, I will not be returning to active ministry in the church."

The media release included a statement by Father Brian Lucas saying Bishop Toohey would not comment further "out of respect for the privacy of all concerned".

Church insiders told The Australian the matter related to Bishop Toohey's relationships with a number of young women.

At the time of his retirement, he publicly ascribed it to "personal reasons and ill-health".

One insider said recent discussions with the women resulted in an agreement for a public apology.


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