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Monday, 17 August 2015 15:43

Truth, justice, healing and prevention

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Sr Berneice Loch rsm150 2015The work of justice and healing on matters of historical sexual abuse in the Church will continue, but it is important that the work of prevention take a central place in future efforts. The way forward will take courage, commitment and prayer, writes CRA President Sister Berneice Loch rsm.

“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt 18:20.

These words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew follow reassurances on the power of prayer in our lives. At the time of this writing, I am about to attend a joint meeting of representatives from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and from Catholic Religious Australia with the Truth Justice and Healing Council (TJHC), the group set up to represent the Church in relation to the Royal Commission. I am humbled by the constancy, dedication and leadership the Council members have shown in taking on this task on behalf of us all.

Consciousness is growing that we need to move ahead with decisions to take us into the future in dealing with Professional Standards matters in our Church. In the past there has been a great deal of emphasis on doing justice and offering healing for past hurts. Sometimes we have done this well and all too often we have failed to do it well. This work will need to continue, but it is important that the work of prevention take a central place in our future efforts. The National Committee for Professional Standards as well as the TJHC have been giving us this message for some time and it was certainly in the minds and hearts of a small group from across several Church sectors who met to discuss this a month ago. 

The way forward is neither clear nor easy and it will take courage and commitment from us all. Above all we all need to pray for wisdom in this as much as for the courage and commitment. While not all of us can be involved in designing and building the future, every one of us can support the efforts with our prayers. There can be many more than “two or three” gathering around this. I am using this platform in the CRA newsletter, Pathways, to ask for the prayer and support of individual Religious and of their Congregations as we move into a very significant phrase of choosing a way forward. May the Holy Spirit be our inspiration and guide.

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