AUCKLAND (CNS): The Catholic bishops of New Zealand have apologised to victims of sex abuse by priests or religious.
The bishops also offered to help heal those who have been abused by clergy, although their pastoral letter, read during Masses on June 29-30, did not specify what type of assistance they would provide to victims.
‘To those who are victims of abuse and to their families we express our deepest regret and most sincere apology. We pledge our commitment to assist the healing of those who have been abused,’ the bishops said.
The bishops said that assisting victims of sexual abuse was the focus of their policy, A Path to Healing, put in place in 1998 and revised last year. The policy calls for a prompt response to accusations and assistance to victims. It also calls for offending clergy to be removed from public ministry.
The bishops said the sex abuse scandal was the ’cause of grief and shame to all of us’.
‘The betrayal of trust and the harm that has been done, especially to the young and the vulnerable, fills us, your bishops, with a deep sense of sadness and betrayal,’ the bishops said.