A message from Bishop McKenna in relation to the National Apology
Dear Friends in Christ,
I welcomed this week’s apology, by the Parliament, to our fellow Australians who are victims and survivors of historical child sexual abuse in institutions. Our task now is to work together for the healing of those who have suffered: and to continue making our institutions safe places for children, so that these horrendous crimes will not happen again.
In my first Pastoral Letter to you, back in 2010, I wrote the following:
This Word, which we both minister and receive, is reconciliation in Christ. To announce it, we seek it. Along with our own sins, we bear the burden of the sins of those united to us in the mystical body, the Church. As the Venerable John Paul II said, “The recognition of past wrongs serves to reawaken our consciences to the compromises of the present, opening the way to conversion for everyone.”
There are many old sins for which we could ask forgiveness as a local church, including our treatment of the first Australians. The most scandalous right now involve crimes against minors by priests, religious and other adults. As Bishop, I have apologized directly to individuals who have been hurt in these ways and I repeat that apology today, to all of them and publicly.
I have renewed that apology on other occasions since then, including in my meetings with survivors. Once again, I ask our communities to walk with those who have suffered: and to cooperate in our continuing vigilance in safeguarding children now. We cannot undo the past: we can only do our best in the present, for a better future. May God give us the wisdom and courage to persevere in our good intentions. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
Bishop of Bathurst