The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has convened an additional plenary meeting for 2018 to expedite the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The meeting is being held in Melbourne on 2 and 3 August; which will allow the bishops to consider, as a body, the Church’s formal response to the Royal Commission.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge, ACBC President, said the bishops had not received enough advice at their May meeting to prepare their response to the Royal Commission’s final report.
“Additional advice, including from the [now defunct] Truth, Justice and Healing Council, the Implementation Advisory Group, Catholic Professional Standards Limited, local safeguarding experts and canon lawyers has now been received and is informing the bishops’ response,” he added.
“We have also begun discussions with the Holy See about issues that concern the discipline and doctrine of the universal Church.”
Representatives from Catholic Religious Australia, the Implementation Advisory Group, and Catholic Professional Standards Limited will attend the meeting.
Archbishop Coleridge said he hopes the ACBC’s formal response to the Royal Commission will be released as soon as possible after the August plenary meeting.
“We decided we couldn’t wait until our next scheduled plenary meeting in late November to finalise our response,” he stated.
The bishops will also receive an update on the Catholic Church’s participation in the National Redress Scheme and on Commonwealth funding for Catholic schools at this week’s meeting.