“Today, considering the importance of this moment, I would like to express my condolences to you on behalf of the bishops and other religious leaders,” he said. “I apologize today on behalf of those who went before us as bishops and leaders of the Catholic Church. We did not justify the damage and our actions,” Dew said.
Prime Minister Jacinta Artern appointed the Royal Commission in 2018, saying the country must face “a dark chapter in its history”. Although initially focused on health institutions, churches and other religious institutions were later included in the survey.
An interim report released last December showed that between the 1960s and the early 21st century, more than a quarter of a million children, young people and vulnerable adults were physically and sexually assaulted in institutions. The nine-month-old child is said to have been abused by staff, pastors and foster parents. Among other things, the victims were raped and subjected to electric shock treatments.
“We recognize that the organization and culture within the church have made this abuse possible. This organization and culture have failed you and need to change,” Dew said.
The State Commission will advise the government on the matter later this year.
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