An open letter to Lismore's Catholic Bishop
For the last week, after the media ban on the verdict on Archbishop Pell's case was lifted, a number of my friends and acquaintances have taken to social media to 'come out' as victims of child sex abuse, some of them by clergy.
This was distressing, because with the disclosure, they have also shared their despair, the pain they have lived again. A pain they worked so hard to leave behind.
I was raised Catholic in Chile and my education at a Marist school was a happy one.
I thought my experience as a student at a Catholic university was also positive, until years later, when I found out the university tried to purge students they thought were gay.
No proof was needed.
My teachers refused and some lost their jobs.
My name was on that list.
After that I never went back to a Catholic church, until recently, in Byron Bay.
You were at the pulpit, talking candidly about how young Catholics are the future of the church.
I met you through my role as a reporter and I thought you were a humble leader and someone who could guide the community through hard times.
Well. This is such a time.
Bishop Homeming, if you don't want to or cannot talk to reporters about the Pell case, that's fair enough.
But the community needs you to talk to us, lapsed and loyal Catholics, the lay and the clerics, men and women, Christians and seculars.
We all need you to talk to us, and we need you now.
We need you at the pulpit and beyond.
We need you in the streets and on radio, we need you commenting in the newspapers, on social media and we need you at the local markets.
I need you to be fearless, to take the community's needs before the needs of the Vatican's hierarchy.
We need a leader to tell us that the Catholic Church cares for its flock and that you will guide us though this period.
If there is any hope within the Roman Catholic Lismore Diocese community to acknowledge the facts, discuss the issues as adults and face the situation, it lays in your hands to start that process.
Nobody else has the opportunity like you do.
This silence is eroding my trust.
The Church's silence is making me lose faith.
If you talk, we will listen.
If you allow people to discuss issues as adults, if you listen and act without fear, we will back you up.
The ball is on your side of the court now.
God bless you and protect you.