National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Message to the People of the Diocese of Sale
28th October, 2018
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ
Last Monday, the 22nd of October, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten addressed the Australian public and issued a profound and moving apology to the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia. The National Apology delivered at Parliament House in Canberra acknowledged the dreadful history of child sexual abuse perpetrated on the innocent of this land by those who were charged with their protection, including members of our Church.
In his address to Australia, Mr Morrison asked the question we have all been asking over the years of the Royal Commission, “Why was their trust betrayed? Why did those who knew cover it up? Why was our system of justice blind to injustice?” We can and must continue to ask of ourselves as Church, “Why did we?”
Our Gospel reading today tells the story of blind Bartimaeus, the man who begged for sight. Unlike many in our Church and our nation during this appalling period in our history, Bartimaeus was not wilfully blind. He wanted to see. As we reflect on the words of the Prime Minister when he said, “While we can’t be so vain to pretend to answers, we must be so humble to fall before those who were forsaken and beg to them our apology” we must also acknowledge that words alone are not enough. We must continually look for ways to ensure this never happens again. In the words of a survivor from our own Diocese, “There was no rest from it for some of us”. There must be no rest for us now as we live out the words of Jesus to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Therefore, can we now with humility, with honesty and with hope for healing pray this prayer of healing and hope together.
Yours in Christ
Most Rev. Patrick O’Regan DD
Bishop of Sale
PRAYER OF HEALING AND HOPE
We pray for our brothers and sisters
who have been abused within our Church.
We acknowledge their unending strength:
their boldness has been an immense gift.
We pray that they and their families find justice,
peace and healing.
We remember especially our deceased brothers
and sisters who were harmed,
and their loved ones who mourn their passing.
May they now find peace and joy in God’s loving embrace.
We pray for our community:
that we accept and nurture each other
during this time.
Empower us to be a positive
and supportive force within society.
Help us to be witness the love of God for all.
Help us to acknowledge and
make amends for past wrongs.
Give us the strength to be true advocates
for the wronged and vulnerable.
May the grace of God
guide us now and always.
We make this prayer
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Prayer used and adapted by permission of the Catholic
Diocese of Wollongong.