Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
At my ordination as Bishop of Sale, I began using a phrase that I find myself continually using, in these last two years. It is the phrase, “God is Good!”. It not only describes an attribute of God but also reveals a desire that we share in that Goodness.
It is sad to say that, at times, Church officials have failed to behave appropriately and this has been deeply disturbing. Times where we have not reflected God’s goodness in any way. On behalf of the Church, here in the Diocese of Sale, I apologise to all who have been let down and betrayed by abuse in whatever form this may have taken. I acknowledge the pain that victims and their families have suffered and continue to experience. I express my remorse for past failings and extend my sincere regret and deep sympathy.
I am aware that some of our parishioners may feel estranged or disaffected from our Church as a result of this. I also invite you to reflect upon the vast majority of our good and generous Priests and Religious and Catholic School Teachers and others who dedicate themselves to the care and pastoral needs of their people and dedicated Catholics whose selfless work in the interests of children, vulnerable adults, the sick and the underprivileged, daily speaks of a generous faith and of a faithful Church.
I wish to assure you that the Diocese of Sale is wholly committed to ensuring the safety, well-being and dignity of all children and vulnerable adults and acknowledges its important spiritual, moral and responsibility to create a safe and nurturing environment in our Parishes and Schools for everyone. Survivors of any form of abuse can be assured that their complaints will be dealt with respectfully and justly. My deep desire is for the Church in the Diocese of Sale be a safe place and for all people to feel safe in the presence of God and one another.
The Diocese has taken significant steps in ensuring a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults, which include: each Parish and Catholic School have been written policies and commitment statements and codes of conduct; there has been extensive scrutiny that has been introduced to screen those involved in any form of Church ministry within the Diocese; protocols have been established and education programs are underway to develop an ongoing culture of awareness and empowerment. Clear avenues have been defined to report any abuse or inappropriate behaviour. The reporting procedure is outlined in the Professional Standards site on the Diocese of Sale website.
I am genuinely hopeful that we as the Church here in the Diocese of Sale can continue working energetically to right past wrongs and ensure a better and safer future. We have come a long way to ensure that this is the case, and I thank all who have so willingly been part of this journey so far. While there is much more to be done and this will be a long and arduous task, I believe that God’s goodness will indeed shine through all our actions, so that each and every person might come to know and proclaim that “God is Good!”.
Bishop Patrick O’Regan
Bishop of Sale