New Zealand’s Catholic Church apologises to survivors of abuse

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s Catholic Church formally apologised on Friday to the survivors of abuse within the church and said its systems and culture must change.

Cardinal John Dew, who is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of New Zealand, made the apology at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders in New Zealand.

“Today, recognising the importance of this moment, I apologise to you, on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Cardinal Dew, who is also the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

“I also apologise to you on behalf of those who preceded us as bishops and congregational leaders. We offer no excuses for their actions, or for ours, that have caused you harm.”

Cardinal Dew’s comments in Auckland was part of witness statements being recorded from faith-based institutions at the Abuse in Care inquiry that is underway to resolve historic and current abuse claims.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set up the Royal Commission in 2018 saying the country needed to confront “a dark chapter” in its history, and later expanded it to include churches and other faith-based institutions.

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