Church leaders renew apology as child abuse hearing winds up
CATHOLIC Bishop of Rockhampton Michael McCarthy and Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea leader Sister Berneice Loch have renewed their apology to child abuse victims at Neerkol.
The pair has issued a joint statement this afternoon following the completion of the Royal Commission into child abuse hearing in Rockhampton.
The hearing heard confronting evidence from former residents at the Neerkol orphanage who were victims of sexual and physical abuse.
Bishop McCarthy and Sister Loch's statement said:
"Over the past two weeks we have listened to the women and men who were physically, emotionally and sexually abused by priests of the Diocese of Rockhampton and sisters and staff at St Joseph's Orphanage, Neerkol.
"As we listened to those who had been abused, we were deeply saddened by their stories and struck by the deep and profound impact the abuse had on their innocent lives.
"We are sorry for the pain they endured and the suffering that continues still.
"We renew our apology for the abuse that took place at St Joseph's and also for the failure to respond appropriately.
"We also extend our apology to the families of those who suffered abuse and all others who have shared in their suffering.
"The Diocese of Rockhampton and the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea commit to continuing to provide ongoing support and assistance, both practical and financial, to the survivors damaged while at St Joseph's.
"We continue to seek reconciliation with the women and men whose lives were damaged and continue to offer them assistance and support.
"We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable people."