STATEMENT FROM BISHOP BILL WRIGHT ON THE FINDINGS OF THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION FOR A DIOCESAN MEMORIAL ACKNOWLEDGING VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF INSTITUTIONAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
In September 2017, following Lina’s Project, I spoke about consulting with survivors and the community about a permanent memorial in the grounds of Sacred Heart Cathedral. That consultation has been carried out by a respected and reputable independent agency, Mara Consulting.
The majority of respondents have told me clearly that they want a memorial, but they do not want that memorial placed in the grounds of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, and that they would not visit a memorial if it were constructed on Church grounds. I have heard and accept what the majority are saying and acknowledge their sentiments.
The Diocese will not progress the establishment of a memorial in the grounds of the Sacred Heart Cathedral or other diocesan grounds. However, the Diocese will canvass other faith-based organisations, local governments and community groups to see if there is an opportunity to establish a dialogue on developing a joint project for the building of a more universal memorial to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
In the interim, we will continue to acknowledge and honour all those who were abused within our Church and to remember the failures in some of our past leaders that allowed such harm to occur, through the Perpetual Day of Remembrance. As Bishop, I am able to establish special feast days in the Diocese’s liturgical calendar. I have only established one such feast day, I have made the Sunday on or before 15 September each year a Perpetual Day of Remembrance to, firstly, remember those who were abused, living and dead, in our prayers and our ministries. Secondly, it is about resolving that we will do all in our power to keep children safe now and in the future by being on guard against the sorts of attitudes that enabled abuse in the past.
On this Perpetual Day of Remembrance for 2021 I invite all people of faith and good will to join me in prayer and reflection and to renew our individual and collective commitments to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in our communities from all forms of abuse or neglect.
For healing and support:
The past is with us today. The Diocese has, is and will continue to acknowledge the shameful aspects of its history where children suffered abuse and some of its leaders failed to protect them from harm. The pain and damage caused is current each day for some survivors and their families. Healing and Support (Zimmerman Service) continues to provide a highly personalised pastoral response and can be contacted during office hours Monday to Friday 02 4923 0636 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults:
If a diocesan employee, volunteer, parishioner, cleric or religious has any concerns for the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or vulnerable adult, please ring the Office of Safeguarding during office hours Monday to Friday 02 4979 1390, via email email@example.com or through an online report (which can be done anonymously) https://officeofsafeguarding.org.au/report-abuse/.
For more information about the consultation project, please visit Mara Consulting.