Canberra church creates body to handle paedophilia complaints

Canberra, March 9 (IANS) The Catholic Church of Canberra has created a separate body to handle sexual abuse complaints in a transparent manner, after the Vatican’s Finance Minister George Pell admitted paedophilia cases in Australia were covered up.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse from the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese said on Wednesday that although many victims of sexual abuse in the past may think the measure comes too late it could still be part of the solution, EFE news reported.

“Too many (survivors), regrettably, have spoken of being confronted by a brutal and defensive church governance structure that refused to take responsibility,” Prowse said.

“The aim is to support survivors with the reassurance that all our communities are safe, our children and vulnerable people are truly cared for, and the spiritual dimension of all we do is not compromised by unethical and criminal behaviour,” he added.

Prowse said victims of sexual abuse could now directly contact the church with their complaints, without going through bureaucracy or lawyers.

Last week, Pell admitted that paedophilia cases at the heart of the Australian Catholic Church were covered up and that he should have done more to stop them, while denying he had in-depth knowledge about the cases, or that he had covered them up or protected paedophile priests.

Pell, the most senior Catholic Church official to admit the existence of paedophilia in the institution, testified before an Australian commission, investigating religious institutional response to child sex abuse, about the time he worked as a priest in Ballarat and was Auxiliary Bishop and Archbishop in Melbourne.

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