In our Lenten pastoral letter 'Sowing In Tears', the Bishops of NSW committed to "cooperate fully with the Royal Commission, police and other relevant authorities." In the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, we are also subject to the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to the Police investigation of certain child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle (the Inquiry). To date, I believe the Diocese has demonstrated an exemplary level of cooperation towards the Inquiry.
The Inquiry had its formal opening on 13 February 2013, during which the Special Commissioner Margaret Cunneen (SC) issued the following invitation:
...this Inquiry provides an important opportunity for persons who held relevant positions within the Catholic Church to come forward and provide information to the Inquiry about relevant matters that occurred in the past. Conceivably, this may include information both as to the good and the bad that occurred in the past, including, if it be so, an acknowledgment that things could well have been handled differently and better. I encourage any such persons who may have relevant information also to come forward and provide it to the Inquiry.
I support the Commissioner's invitation. As the Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, I enjoin any member of our clergy, religious orders or laity who has any information that may be relevant to the Inquiry, to come forward, make contact and give them your information. The Inquiry's contact details are:
GPO Box 25
Sydney NSW 2001
Phone: (02) 9224 5282
If you want support in making contact with the Inquiry, the personnel at Zimmerman Services can help you to tell your truth to the Inquiry. Zimmerman Services' contact details are:
845 Hunter Street, Newcastle West 2302
Phone: (02) 4979 1390
(from Monday 18 March, Zimmerman Services will be located at 50 Crebert Street, Mayfield East).
In this time we must all have the courage to ensure that the whole story is told and the actions of those involved are judged, with as much of the truth as the Lord gives us the grace to know and understand.
Bishop Bill Wright, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Friday March 1, 2013