New Zealand: Catholic church admits allegations of sexual abuse

WION Web Team
Wellington, New ZealandUpdated: Feb 01, 2022, 04:55 PM IST
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In this file photo, President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference Cardinal John Dew can be seen Photograph:(AFP)

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Earlier, a major investigation had revealed that French clergy sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years

The catholic church in New Zealand has admitted allegations of sexual abuse against the clergy.

A scathing report by a group formed on the request of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, found 14 per cent of diocesan clergy has been accused of abusing children and adults since 1950.

The research was undertaken by Te Rōpū Tautoko, the group that coordinates Church engagement with the Royal Commission. It includes records of 428 Catholic parishes, 370 Catholic schools and 67 other care institutions.

''Church leaders are committed to ensuring transparency. Consistent with this principle, we have published this information now, as soon as the work on it has been completed,'' said Catherine Fyfe, Chair of Te Rōpū Tautoko.

''It is important to note that the extent of reports of abuse in the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand has not been collated before now. The Information Gathering Project was a major exercise involving dozens of people over two years, including searching paper files dating back 70 years in hundreds of places.”

The publication of the research comes shortly before the Royal Commission is scheduled to start hearings that will investigate events at Marylands School in Christchurch. 

Earlier, a major investigation had revealed that French clergy sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.

“These statistics on abuse in the Catholic Church going back to 1950 are horrifying and something we are deeply ashamed of. I am grateful that so much work has been done in researching the details and making them public,'' said Cardinal John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

''As we continue to respond to the Royal Commission into Abuse and we build a safer Church for everyone, I firmly hope that facts like these will help us to face the sad reality. The Church will learn from this and affirm its commitment to the work of safeguarding.''

The commission is also looking into any abuse by the brothers at Hebron Trust, a Christchurch facility for at-risk youth operated by one of the brothers, and abuse by the brothers at Marylands against residents of the neighbouring St Joseph’s orphanage run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

(With inputs from agencies)