Bishops’ meeting with Pope welcomed: Archbishop Coleridge

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

The following is the response by Archbishop Mark Coleridge to Pope Francis’ announcement that he would convene a meeting of presidents of Bishops’ Conferences.

I welcome Pope Francis’ decision to convene a meeting of the presidents of Bishops Conferences to discuss the Church’s ongoing efforts to address the immense harm caused by sexual abuse.

Such a meeting is unusual, but it is appropriate and justified as the Church internationally must stand united to eliminate this evil from our midst.

As the Australian bishops and leaders of Catholic religious orders said last month, so must the universal Church say as one: Never again.

I will go to Rome armed with our understanding gained from decades working to eliminate child sexual abuse and the toxic cultures that allowed it to happen. I will also go with the stories of survivors in my heart and the many things we have learnt from the Royal Commission.

The meeting in February will be no quick fix, but it is a step in the right direction and may be able to suggest to Pope Francis further steps to be taken.

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