Catholic Church leaders in New Zealand will carefully study the interim reports of the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care to learn lessons that will help the Church continue to better address the way it deals with complaints and prevent abuse.
The Royal Commission published its first interim reports on December 16.
“These reports will contain much important information and guidance that follow on from what survivors have told the commissioners about their experiences,” said Catherine Fyfe, chair of the Church’s Te Rōpū Tautoko agency. “Church leaders will be discussing these reports widely with the aim of looking at how we can continue to improve the way we help people who have been abused and the systems we have in place to prevent further abuse.”
Te Rōpū Tautoko member and Archbishop of Wellington, Cardinal John Dew, said: “The bishops and congregational leaders as well as many individual Church members listened carefully to the experiences of survivors as they spoke at the recent Royal Commission redress hearings. We want the events of the past to be examined transparently and openly. We are deeply sorry for the harm caused to so many by the abuse they suffered, and we continue to express our profound sorrow.”
Te Rōpū Tautoko is the agency that coordinates and manages cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Royal Commission. It was formed by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (representing the bishops of the country’s six dioceses) and the Congregational Leaders Conference (representing Catholic religious congregations in New Zealand).
Catholic Church leaders asked for the Church and other faith-based bodies to be included in the Royal Commission’s terms of reference, which originally included only state organisations.