PERHAPS the saddest thing about the ongoing Royal Commission into institutional sex abuse is that there will be no winners at the end of the day.
No-one is doubting the need for the inquiry, though, as hours upon hours of heart-rending testimony from victims has proved.
But it’s hard to imagine anyone walking away from the whole harrowing process feeling good about it.
It’s to be hoped that victims will take some solace from the fact their cries for help are
finally being heard but, in too many cases, it has come far too late.
The Royal Commission has also heard too many tales of lives ruined by the predatory behaviour of sex offenders, leaving victims to battle depression, drug abuse and – tragically – attempts on their own lives in adult years.
Many victims have found it hard to rear their own children, afraid to let them out of their sight because they know first-hand that evil can exist in the most unlikely places.
The best we can hope is that the Royal Commission cleanses the souls of those most grievously harmed by past offences, and sets guidelines to ensure the sins of the past are not revisited in the future.
For its part, the Catholic Church appears to be genuine in its desire to make amends.
The Catholic Church has been stained more than most organisations by the behaviour of a few over the years, including the terrible cases of abuse recorded here in Bathurst.
The Truth, Justice and Healing Council CEO was in Bathurst yesterday to update the local bishop and priests on the Royal Commission and the church’s response to the revelations.
Transparency is the key to regaining the broader public’s faith in an organisation that still boasts far more good people than bad, and is responsible for many more good deeds than wrong.
There is a real place for the church in our future, but it must first confront its past.