Four Jesuits are set to appear before the Royal Commission during the ‘wrap up’ hearings into a broad range of issues related to the Catholic Church’s response to issues of sexual abuse.
Unlike previous hearings which looked into facts and events related to particular case studies, this month’s Royal Commission hearings will inquire more broadly into a range of issues including:
1. Current Church policies and procedures in relation to child protection.
2. Factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Church institutions.
3. Factors that may have affected the Church’s institutional response to child sexual abuse.
4. The responses of Church authorities to reports of the Royal Commission thus far.
5. Data relating to the extent of claims of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church of Australia.
The four Jesuits who have been called to give evidence in this case study are:
• Fr Gerry O’Hanlon SJ – a former Irish Provincial and theologian who has reflected on these issues – on Structure, Governance & Culture (scheduled to appear on 8 February via video conference)
• Fr Frank Brennan SJ on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (scheduled to appear on 9 February)
• Delegate for Formation Fr Brendan Kelly SJ on Formation (scheduled to appear on 14 February)
• Australian Provincial Fr Brian McCoy on Religious Institutes (scheduled to appear on 22 February).
Fr McCoy has asked the Province to keep all those who have suffered abuse in their prayers, along with those giving evidence to the commission.
‘The sexual abuse of children in our care has left a deep scar on survivors and on our Province. It is part of the bigger picture of the abuse of children in the wider Church and in other institutions which the Royal Commission is seeking to understand so as to make recommendations aimed at ensuring it never happens again.’
The case study will be streamed live at: https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/261be84b-bec0-4440-b294-57d3e7de1234/case-study-50,-february-2017,-sydney