The operator of this website is the highly motivated community-minded Martin Mitchell from Australia (himself an instititionalised and abused minor in church institutions in the former West Germany)

( 21.06.2004 )

Child abuse in the Anglican Church in Australia. Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide. Church is finally making amends. Will the Churches in Germany do likewise or harden their hearts even further?

THE [Adelaide] ADVERTISER, 21 June 2004 @

Forgive us, please

THE Anglican Church apologised "unreservedly" to victims of sexual abuse in a statement read at services across Adelaide yesterday.

In an apology unanimously agreed to by the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide, the Church acknowledged the shame of the way it had handled cases of sexual abuse by people holding positions of power and trust in the church.

"We apologise for the shameful way we have actively worked against, and discouraged, those who have come to us and reported abuse," it said.

"We are ashamed to have acknowledged that we only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us.

"We apologise and ask forgiveness for the church’s failure at many levels to listen to, and acknowledge the plight of, those who have been abused, to take adequate steps to assist them, and to prevent abuse from happening or recurring."

The apology pledged that the church would listen, and "respond with compassion", to all abuse victims who had come forward and "to those who may choose to do so in the future".

It also promised to deal "appropriately, transparently and fairly" with those accused of abuse and negligence.

"This Synod and we, as members of it, acknowledge with deep regret and repentance the past failings of the church and its members," it said.

Anglican child protection advocate the Rev Don Owers welcomed what he called a "realistic, honest and personal" apology.

"What I appreciated was it was really owned by the Synod," he said. "A draft form was put to the Synod and they worked hard on it . . . and the end result was something which hadn't just been put to the Synod, there was ownership of it."

Mr Owers said he had received a positive response from parishioners at his church, St Matthew's at Magill.

"We read the apology together and printed it off for everyone to be able to take home with them," he said. On Saturday, the 280 Synod members unanimously agreed to the apology and recited the statement together.

Christ Church in North Adelaide attracted a large crowd at its 10am service during which the apology was read.

"It was definitely a show of unity," Christ Church Sunday School superintendent Zena Chapman said.

"We are all very shocked and horrified by the whole thing.

"People were there to show support for the Anglican Church. There were several people on the prayer list for being (absent from church) sick, but they were there."

Discussing the apology with Synod members on Saturday, church administrator Archdeacon John Collas declared that "our openness must go further".

© Advertiser Newspaper Pty Limited

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 21 June 2004 ]


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