Canberra’s Catholic Church offers a prayer for the victims of child abuse


CATHOLIC Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse has written a letter to his congregation:

Dear People of God in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn,

Starting June 11th, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will be conducting their next public hearings in Canberra.

They will be examining the way in which the Marist Brothers responded to allegations of child sexual abuse in their schools in the ACT, NSW and Queensland.

I write to prepare you for the public testimonies of the very sad experiences of some victims. Many of you will be shaken by these horrendous stories. The victims deserve our prayers and support. They have been courageous in coming forward. We stand alongside them. I attach a prayer of intercession that you may wish to use in your Masses in the coming two weeks.

The scourge of sexual abuse in any form, but especially by Church leaders, is one of the great scandals of our times. These criminal acts are a cause of deep shame and humiliation for the Catholic Church. I offer my sincere apology to any victim. I commit the Archdiocese to co-operate fully with this Royal Commission in every way possible. Please God, our condemnation of sexual abuse within our Church will only be matched by our determination to move into the future with Church attitudes and structures that are purified and transparent.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Archbishop Christopher Prowse
Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn

This is the Archbishop’s suggested prayer:

As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse conducts hearings in Canberra, we pray for all victims, especially those giving evidence. May the Holy Spirit heal the minds and hearts of victims. May we all work towards a world free from this terrible scourge.

It raises the question as to whether the victims want Catholic prayers at this time.

Writing on the horrific discovery of a mass child grave in Ireland Emer O’Toole for the Guardian had this to say:

Do not say Catholic prayers over these dead children. Don’t insult those who were in life despised and abused by you. Instead, tell us where the rest of the bodies are.

[Photo by Rchard, attribution licence]

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