PRELATE: The sixth bishop of Lismore, father Gregory Homeming.
PRELATE: The sixth bishop of Lismore, father Gregory Homeming. Marc Stapelberg

Bishop to raise issue of child abuse when he meets the Pope

LISMORE'S Catholic Bishop Greg Homening will share his thoughts on the "consequences" of child sexual abuse when he travels to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis in his first official visit, alongside the rest of the Australian bishops.

Bishop Homeing said that according to Cannon Law, all Bishops must travel to Rome every five to eight years to visit the Vatican, meet the Pope and other high church officials for two weeks.

"The point is twofold - it gives Rome the chance to go through my report and see whether or not there is anything they need to talk to me about, if something is missing or something is wrong, which means I can be reprimanded or I could be given some advice," he said.

"The other side gives Rome the chance to listen to the bishops about what's happening in other parts of the world.

"Given than we are a new breed of bishops in Australia, and many, like myself, are very straight forward, there will be straight speaking, and gives the Vatican a chance to understand what happens."

The report touches on local evangelisation, church attendance and charitable work.

The prelate said his official report had been sent to the Vatican in writing last year and one of the areas he is reporting on is the matter of sexual abuse victims.

"For me the most serious issues we face on one level is the consequence of the child abuse, and I gave my thoughts on that, plus my thoughts on what clericalism is," he said.

"On one level justice demands that the church attends to all of its failings, but on another level, there is a social issue here, because if the church attends to injustices to all of its failings, we are only looking at 4 per cent or 5 per cent of the population, but what about all the others?"