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Australia: national apology to child abuse victims today. The Catholic Church also renews her apology

Today is National Apology Day in Australia, a day in which the nation asks for forgiveness to all children who have been sexually abused. In a long speech to MPs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in the presence of some victims, asked for forgiveness for what they had suffered and for the “never-heard pleas of tortured souls, bewildered by an indifference to the unthinkable theft of their innocence”, and used harsh words to condemn such acts. His request for forgiveness was appreciated and echoed by the Catholic Church: “The National Apology today and the apologies made by institutions during the life of the Royal Commission and since have been an important validation of the courage of survivors of abuse in seeking truth, justice and healing”, a statement from the Australian Bishops’ Conference reads. The Commission heard 8,000 witnesses and uncovered 17,000 abuse cases. “On behalf of the Catholic bishops and religious leaders of Australia, we renew our profound and heartfelt apology to all victims and survivors of abuse and to their families, friends and supporters, who have shared their suffering”. Abuse perpetrated by priests, brothers, sisters and lay people was “an utter betrayal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it should never have happened”, said Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the bishops. Many Australian communities are holding local events to mark the National Apology.

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