Can faith be restored? Bishop says sorry
THE BISHOP of Lismore says his church will "work to ensure the whole truth is revealed" about "heinous" child sex abuse crimes committed by senior members of the Catholic Church.
Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, in a letter to his parishioners ahead of the royal commission in Sydney this week, has urged victims to come forward.
"If you are aware of any allegations against Church personnel or have been abused yourself, I strongly encourage you to contact the police," he wrote.
The royal commission is looking into the Catholic Church's response to victims of child sex abuse through its counselling program, Towards Healing.
One of the case studies to be reviewed involves a deceased priest from the Diocese of Lismore.
Rev Jarrett will be called to give evidence at the royal commission.
"The events that occurred are historic," he wrote in his letter to "the people of the Diocese of Lismore".
"But they are none-the-less disturbing and unacceptable.
"The emotional and psychological pain endured by the victims of clerical child sexual abuse and their families is real and is acknowledged."
Rev Jarrett said the Catholic Church supported the work of the royal commission.
He also explained that the current procedures and practices for Church personnel to protect vulnerable people, including children, were "vastly different and improved from those of the past".
"The Diocese of Lismore is fully compliant with NSW child protection legislation," he said.
"As the present bishop of the diocesan church, I again give my public, unreserved and heartfelt apology to all victims of this heinous crime.
"I trust and pray that through this process the Catholic Church can face and address its failings and become closer to Christ, our Saviour and our hope."
The royal commission is continuing in Sydney.
It is expected to continue until December 20.