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Catholic Archbishop promises a listening tour with victims of sexual abuse

The Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn has promised a "listening tour" to meet victims of child sexual abuse and their families as part of a healing mission in the lead-up to Easter.

In his lenten message, Christopher Prowse again apologised and condemned past crimes.

Archbishop Prowse also acknowledged his own failings and pledged to focus on the care of victims and prevention of further abuse.

His message referred to Royal Commission revelations that since 1950 in the Archdiocese there were 43 complaints against 16 priests and 36 against 21 lay people.

"Structures and policies are now in place in the Archdiocese to ensure that the scourge of sex abuse does not continue in our communities," he said.

"We are working closely with the ombudsman and police. A cultural shift, good governance and structural changes to prevent child sexual abuse are the hallmarks in going forward in hope."

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The Archbishop said he feared being a defensive church.

"This whole tragic situation has been like a cancer for people of faith," he said.

"We pray for healing and as people of hope, we ask Jesus to lead us."

The Archbishop's message is being delivered on Ash Wednesday, which opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.