Royal Commission Catholic Redress Hearings this week

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Phase Two of the Redress Hearings of the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care were held in Auckland in the second half of March, with witnesses for the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand being heard from Tuesday 23 March to Friday 26 March.

An Opening Statement on behalf of the Church was made on  Monday at 4.30pm by Sally McKechnie, the lawyer representing Te Rōpū Tautoko, the group coordinating Catholic engagement with the Royal Commission. Read the statement here in PDF format.

Before the New Zealand witnesses began, the Royal Commission on Tuesday at 9am called Dr Thomas P Doyle, a canon lawyer, as an American expert on the Catholic Church. His evidence is here.

The Church witnesses were: 

  • Br Peter Horide, Professional Standards Delegate for the Marist Brothers, (Tuesday 3.30pm and Wednesday 10am). Read his evidence here.
  • Virginia Noonan, Director of NOPS, the National Office for Professional Standards (Wednesday 3 pm and Thursday 9.30am). Read her evidence here.
  • Fr Timothy Duckworth SM, Provincial of the NZ Province of the Society of Mary (Thursday 11am). Read his evidence here.
  • Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington (Friday 10am). Read his evidence here, and the apology to survivors he made on behalf of the Catholic Church here in PDF format and here in HTML.

The hearings were live-streamed from the Commission's website.

On Monday, March 29, closing addresses were made by parties and core participants about the evidence heard during the Redress Hearings. Read the closing statement for the Catholic Church here in PDF format. View the entire session on the Commission's video recording here. The Catholic closing address starts at 14.03

Te Rōpū Tautoko, the group coordinating Catholic engagement with the Royal Commission, created a special page here for the Redress Hearings. 

We are reminded of this prayer from the Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church, held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019:

“Almighty God and Father, you love all people and have sent your Son to heal those who are wounded. In the midst of our world, your Church is called to proclaim your love and kindness. But countless children, youth and adults have become victims of crimes in your Church. Many have fallen silent and could not call for help. Others have spoken, but no one has believed them, or they have been called liars and silenced. This is what we ask of you, the Father of the poor and the friend of life. Open our ears to the message of those who have been violated and hurt in the midst of your Church. Touch our hearts with the pain of those who have been mistreated and abused. Let us recognise the wounds of the people and show us how we must act so that the truth is not suppressed and justice is given to the injured. Do not let our failures cause people to lose faith in you and your gospel.”