The ABC reports…
“Roger Herft has temporarily stood aside as Anglican Archbishop of Perth.
In a letter to parishioners, Archbishop Herft said he would stand aside with immediate effect, to “focus my attention on the royal commission’s ongoing inquiry into the Diocese of Newcastle”.
The Archbishop gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in August.
He finished his testimony with an apology to the people of Newcastle, where he served as bishop between 1993 and 2005.
He said he would stand aside from all duties including ordinations, pastoral visits, public functions, correspondence and related engagements.
“I have taken this decision after much prayer, thought and consultation with my advisors to allow for the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Perth to flourish,” he wrote.
“I am humbled by the courage and fortitude of survivors and victims of child sexual abuse as they continue to bear witness to their stories of suffering.”
Archbishop Herft said it was a “challenging time for us all” and his decision had been made “after much prayer, thought and consultation with my advisers”.
He has been Archbishop of Perth since 2005, but has been on long service leave since finishing his royal commission testimony.
In his evidence at the royal commission, Archbishop Herft denied protecting de-frocked former Newcastle priest Graeme Lawrence, who was accused of child sexual abuse.
Wrapping up his testimony, he said he had let down the people of Newcastle.
“I let them down badly. Let down the survivors in a way that remorse itself is a very poor emotion to express,” he told the commission.
The commission is probing the response to widespread paedophile activity in Newcastle’s Anglican Church spanning several decades.
Archbishop Herft was awarded an Order of Australia in 2013 for service to the church, particularly in the areas of interfaith relations and social justice.
A spokeswoman for the church said Archbishop Herft’s decision to stand aside from all duties was a temporary move.”