THE head of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese has released a statement ahead of the Royal Commission hearings.
Bishop Wright released a video statement on Wednesday morning as the Royal Commission began hearings into the diocese.
He said he expected the diocese would be “severely criticised” for its handlings of matters related to Vincent Ryan.
Ryan, 78, pleaded guilty to historical child sex offences in April.
“The inescapable facts are reports of Ryan’s abuse were received in the early 1970s but he remained in ministry until charged by police in 1995 and he had continued to abuse children during those two decades,” Bishop Wright said.
He said that while the Commission would also cover more “recent and present” responses, past actions would remain disturbing to hear.
“This will once again be a difficult and confronting time and will cause dismay and scandal in local communities here in our diocese and beyond,” he said.
“The diocese, I must tell you, supports the work of the Royal Commission.”
“We also appreciate the lifelong effects this abuse has had on those who were abused, on their families and friends and indeed on whole communities.”
Bishop Wright said the diocese was continuing to refine its child safety systems, as well as those designed for responding with compassion to victims of abuse.
He urged the diocese to come together and support each other during the hearing.
“As a faith community now, we should come together to support each other as well as those who may be struggling as we work to move forward,” he said.
I encourage anyone who may be affected to contact the diocese specialist child protection service.”
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