Anglican Diocese ushers in new phase
Canberra's Anglican Diocese has begun preparing historic and contemporary church documents which may be useful to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
In a pastoral letter to the Anglican congregations and people of Canberra and Goulburn, Bishop Stuart Robinson said the diocese was entering into a new phase of ministry and care as the royal commission got under way.
''As your bishop I am calling us all to prayer; justice, compassion, transparency, truth and Christ's honour must be front and centre in all we do,'' Bishop Robinson wrote.
''I recognise that for many people the royal commission will raise issues and experiences that are painful and invariably damaging.
''So, we also need to be in prayer for those who share their stories (and bare their souls) and for others who will be hearing and processing information that is both sensitive and distressing. And our prayer should also be that this commission will be used by God as vehicle for healing, reconciliation, repentance and reform.''
Bishop Robinson said a professional standards team was preparing requisite historical documentation for the royal commission and would also provide details of all current protocols, policies and procedures related to the care and protection of children.
Bishop Robinson told Fairfax Media that the professional standards team consisted of two full-time staff as well as honorary legal advisers and committees.
''In terms of this issue, I think we're being as front-footed as we possibly can be,'' he said.
''We're being quite clear that we recognise poor and completely inappropriate behaviour has taken place in the past. We also recognised that it's this generation that have to take responsibility - not only for caring for those people who have been affected in the past, but also for creating a safe … environment into which people can be welcomed.''
The National Archives announced on Friday that a ''disposal freeze'' on federal government documents that may be required by the commission had come into force on January 31.
''It applies to all Commonwealth government entities and will be a useful reference for state and territory governments and the not-for profit and private sectors,'' an Archives statement said.
''The National Archives does not expect the Commonwealth to hold a large quantity of case files, however all Commonwealth government agencies are likely to hold relevant … records.''
The Catholic Church has established a Truth, Justice and Healing Council to work with the royal commission.