Wollongong’s Catholic bishop says the diocese will fully co-operate with a Royal Commission inquiry into the sexual abuse of children.
In a statement to be read at churches across the diocese on Sunday, Bishop Peter Ingham described this as one of the saddest periods in his priesthood.
He welcomed the Royal Commission, which will investigate child sexual abuse and the responses of institutions, including churches and government and not-for-profit organisations.
‘‘Hopefully, it will shine a light on the progress we have made in recent years as well as highlight areas in which we can improve our practice,’’ he said.
‘‘As I have done previously, I strongly urge any person with a complaint of mistreatment or abuse to come forward to the appropriate authority.’’
Bishop Ingham offered an apology to those who have suffered abuse at the hands of any person representing the Catholic Church, ‘‘particularly one who was ministering in the name of the Diocese of Wollongong.’’
‘‘I share the pain, shame and legitimate anger of the people of the Church and the wider community, that such abuse has occurred, and that we as Church leaders have been slow to address it with justice and transparency.’’ he said.