“A report that savages the Catholic Church’s response to child sex abuse is doing the institution a “great service”, a priest says.
Father Kevin Dillon said the Victorian parliamentary inquiry’s findings on institutional responses to child sex abuse is the wake-up call the church needed.
“Things have been so out of alignment in terms of what the church’s position has been,” Fr Dillon told AAP on Thursday.
“It’s taken something as far-reaching and honest as this to tell the church from the perspective of the people of Victoria that `you have done great damage, you are responsible for it and you are obliged to fix it as much as that’s possibly able to be accomplished’.”
The report is scathing of the church’s leadership before the 1990s, saying child abuse was trivialised and their protection of pedophiles meant abuse happened when it could have been avoided.
Fr Dillon said in May while the inquiry was in progress that church officials “still don’t get it” and had failed to introduce practical measures that met the needs of victims.
On Wednesday, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart apologised to victims and said previous responses to abuse cases were inexcusable, calling it the worst betrayal of his lifetime in the church.
“I fully acknowledge that leaders in the church made mistakes – these are indefensible,” he said.
Fr Dillon said the church should be grateful for the report.”