28 Feb 2019
Letter from Bishop O'Kelly SJ
Dear Brothers & Sisters
Everyone carrying the name of Catholic must feel bowed down with some sense of shame and even anger at what the crimes of clergy and Church personnel has wreaked upon us as a community. The strength of the media coverage these days reflects a rightful anger on the part of the wider community at the betrayal which such crimes represent, and the hypocrisy they reveal. It is wider than simply the case of Cardinal Pell, and no judgement should be made there until the result of the appeal. Greater than our pain, of course, is the suffering the victims of abuse have been enduring for many years. To continue to do whatever we can to ensure that such crimes do not repeat themselves, and to do whatever we can to help victims and to purify the Church must be a prime response.
These are particularly difficult times for Catholics and others engaged in Catholic institutions. They can be subjected to words or looks which express puzzlement that anyone would want to be associated with such a Church. Efforts to ensure the protection of children and vulnerable people have been underway for quite some years now, and most would acknowledge that our institutions are very safe places for the young and the vulnerable. Apart from a prime consideration being action on behalf of victims, we must make a serious effort to pray for the Church that the Body of Christ not be wounded in the future by the sins of those vowed to paths of holiness. We must pray for our priests and deacons and for all those who work in Catholic institutions that they live and work worthily of their vocations. “To be members of His Body, and instruments in His Hands”. The response of the Church must be to work more strenuously at living its mission to serve the world, and to be true to the Gospel of Jesus. May our pain serve to draw us closer to Christ who came among us as “a man of sorrows”, despised and rejected. But it is through our actions on behalf of others that we shall be rightly judged.
May the hearing of the Word, and the receiving of the Bread of Life, and the recognition of the presence of Christ where two or three are gathered in His name, all gifts of the Church, continue to sustain you.
Yours in Christ