The truth of the matter, right now, is that the child protection policies that have been and are being implemented in the Church are among the most rigorous of any organisation. Our diocese has implemented policies in each parish, which in turn have been the subject of an independent review and all the clergy and church members who have any access to minors or vulnerable adults have all been vetted by the police. While the horrific acts of some and criminal negligence of others will continue to cause suffering and sadness for some time to come, those of us who truly believe in the Church's mission will endeavour to eradicate this evil, provide help for those who have suffered and create a future where this can never happen again. While it is in no way comparable to the pain of those who were abused, those of us who love the Church as the Body of Christ feel an intense agony that has come from this evil. Our new Holy Father will, I'm sure, speak to this and give the proper leadership to convey the Church's sorrow, its commitment to change and to accept the anger and hatred it has incurred as a path to purification. Our main concerns in this matter have to be honesty, true sorrow and an absolute dedication to truth, however painful it may be, and to the protection of the weakest and most vulnerable.
I know some will see these words as merely that: words. Believe me though, many, many in the Church are totally dedicated to this. We cannot hope for or expect the forgiveness of those who have been so gravely hurt. We can only try to rebuild trust by our actions. With Pope Francis, we pray to God to grant us all we need to do this, together, as a Church, on its knees; broken, wounded but faithful in the Spirit's power to make all things new.