CONGRATULATIONS to Bishop Christopher Prowse, Catholic Bishop of Sale for his carefully worded apology to victims of sexual abuse.
He has managed to tick all the boxes which he perceives might address the issue for all parties affected.
It is certainly a huge improvement to the response by Cardinal Pell and Archbishop Hart at the Victorian inquiry which varied between the defensive and the flippant when searching questions came from the enquiry regarding their responses to the issue.
Two questions remain for me.
If the problem mainly existed “…from 1960 to the early 1990s”, why has it taken to now for the public to read such an apology?
Could it be that the even greater sin has been the cover up by church authorities in an effort to protect the church’s reputation and wealth?
Why is the response so disjointed coming from individual bishops in individual diocese?
Is it a result of the structure of the church in Australia where bishops have a large degree of autonomy and no one individual or organisation within the Australian church, let alone the world wide church, seems to be willing to take responsibility for a united stand to address this divisive and destructive issue?
In his full apology, published in Catholic Life June addition, Bishop Prowse concludes with a prayer which reads in part “help us all to create a world where such appalling harm finds no place in our world, and especially our church”.
Clearly Bishop Prowse will have no hesitation, then, in supporting the call by three Australian bishops championed by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, who call on the new Pope to seize the opportunity of his appointment to not only sweep the church clean but to put His/God’s house in order for all time.
This petition and further explanation, designed and given credibility by the bishops, is readily available online and can be signed by anyone at www.forchristssake.info