Never again

I have made several attempts to write the newsletter this week and on each occasion the ink has stopped flowing after a paragraph or two. I'm not sure what the Principal of a Catholic school is supposed to say to his or her community in the week the highest ranking Catholic in the country is sent to jail for child sex offences. It is probably best that opinions about the particular case are kept private until the legal process has been completed, but the heinous crimes committed against children in their care and the cover ups that have followed are a permanent stain on the Catholic Church. It is not enough to talk about all the good that the Church does in caring for the aged, the indigent, the oppressed and the marginalised. That can never be balanced by the betrayal of Jesus' words, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." The Church must change and quickly. Children are the most precious of our resources and they depend on us, the adults, to thrive, be nourished and be formed in the image of Christ.

Available here is a copy of Edmund Rice Education Australia's apology to the victims and survivors of institutionalised abuse. Originally delivered in June 2017, CBC Fremantle intends this year to create at the College a permanent memorial dedicated to all children who have suffered abuse. It is our intention to make sure every member of our community is aware of the deeply sad history of institutionalised abuse in order to do everything possible to ensure it never happens again. This year we have already planned child safety programmes for our boys and parents, focusing on appropriate boundaries, as well as how and who to reach out to when you or your son feels unsafe, in addition to offering corrective experiences for anyone who has suffered in the past.  I hope many of you avail yourselves of these opportunities to build our collective faith that these criminal acts will be completely eliminated from the Church.

An important event occurring at the moment is the Plenary Council. I quote from the Plenary Council web page "The Council will be a unique opportunity for people to come together and listen to God in all the ways God speaks to us, and in particular by listening to one another as together we discern what God is asking of us at this time – a time when the Church in Australia is facing significant challenges. The preparation and celebration of the Plenary Council is a time when all parts of the Church listen to and dialogue with one another as we explore together how we might answer the question: 'What do you think God is asking of us in Australia?'"

Archbishop Costelloe, in launching the Council said "This is a significant moment for the Catholic Church in Australia and I look forward to walking with the people of God as we look towards the future. I encourage all Catholics, whether devout or disillusioned, fervent or frustrated, to seize this opportunity to speak what is on their minds and in their hearts." Following this link to find the information about how to have your say. I urge every member of our community to use the opportunity to have input into the future of the Church in Australia. In calling for the Council, I think Pope Francis is acknowledging that God knows change in our Church is needed and it needs to come from the bottom up.

Mr Domenic Burgio