Perth’s Catholic archbishop has issued an unreserved apology to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of those within the church.
And as the child abuse Royal Commission began its investigations into the Catholic Church, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe also revealed he was considering appointing staff to specifically to maintain the safety of children in Perth.
On Monday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse began public hearings into the Catholic Church’s internal process for handling allegations.
In response, Archbishop Costelloe admitted the church had been responsible for “too many failures, too many betrayals, and too many damaged lives”.
“We acknowledge that this terrible betrayal has at times been compounded by our leaders who failed to recognise the presence of this evil in our midst and respond promptly with decisiveness and courage,” Archbishop Costelloe wrote.
“I know that words can appear cheap. I can only ask you to believe that I mean what I say.”
He also confirmed that in line with several churches in the UK, he was considering training and appointing “Child Safeguarding Officers” in the archdiocese.
Archbishop Costelloe said anyone with a complaint of a sexual offence should take their allegations to the police – and insisted anyone within the church convicted of abuse would be removed from their position.
“Those who have not yet come forward, for whatever reason, we encourage you to do so in the knowledge that you will be welcomed, and that your story will be listened to.”
The royal commission is continuing.