Bishops to reveal abuse inquiry response

Australia's Catholic bishops will release their response to the child abuse royal commission's recommendations by the end of August.

Mark Coleridge

Australia's bishops are at consensus on the abuse royal commission findings, says Mark Coleridge. (AAP)

Australia's Catholic bishops will reveal their response to the child abuse royal commission later this month after reaching a "common position" on the inquiry's calls for reforms.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on Friday committed to releasing its formal response to the five-year inquiry by the end of August.

While it will be up to the Pope and his advisers to accept many of the royal commission's far-reaching recommendations, the Australian bishops have already rejected its controversial call to break the seal of confession to reveal child sexual abuse.

The bishops held a special meeting in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday to discuss issues raised by the royal commission.

"After two productive days of meetings, the bishops have reached a common position on the royal commission's recommendations relating to the Catholic Church and its various ministries," ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said in a statement.

Archbishop Coleridge also committed to publicly release the final report of the Australian church's key royal commission adviser, the Truth Justice and Healing Council.

The ACBC and the peak body for religious orders, Catholic Religious Australia, have agreed to work together on the church's formal response.

"Through the Truth Justice and Healing Council, the bishops and religious orders have engaged productively with the royal commission and within the church in recent years, shaping a shared voice and approach," Archbishop Coleridge said.

"It's therefore appropriate that our formal response to the commission's recommendations and our response to child sexual abuse should also be made together."

The ACBC has held discussions with the Vatican about the commission's recommendations dealing with the discipline and doctrine of the universal church.

The commission called on the ACBC to ask the Holy See to amend canon law to create specific references to sexual crimes against children and end the use of the "pontifical secret" or confidentiality imposed during church investigations into child abuse allegations.

It also called on the church to consider voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy.

2 min read
Published 3 August 2018 at 6:04pm
Source: AAP