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‘Self-serving’ culture in Catholic Church

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Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan on Thursday lambasted a “clericalist culture” characterised by “power, privilege” and self-promotion, during evidence at the Royal Commission into Instiutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“A culture that has lost sight of its ethos and, in a sense, lost the capacity for self-reflection,” he said during a hearing into criminal justice issues in Sydney.

“That can be any institution but … the Catholic Church’s history here is so shameful and confronting, it’s not up to us to lecture everybody.”

In submissions to the royal commission, the TJHC says obligations to report child sexual abuse should not extend to disclosures made in the confession box.

Mr Sullivan said the royal commission had not heard of perpetrators admitting to offending during confession and that, if they did, going to authorities would likely be part of their forgiveness process.

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