ARCHBISHOP COSTELLOE BLESSES NEW OFFICES FOR PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
The great challenge that all of us have to come to grips with is that we have
to allow the Lord to be at the heart of all we are doing and we must allow the
Lord to work through us. I am not for one minute suggesting this is not already
the case. Mindful of all this, I cannot stress enough how important what we
have to do is.
When issues of sexual abuse of young people first emerged in the Salesians, the
religious order to which I belong, it came as a great shock to us as it did to
everyone in the Church. Our Provincial leader at the time recalled a phrase
left to us by our founder, St Don Bosco, which was a summing up of the mission
of the Salesian congregation and that is that “God has called us to care for
poor and abandoned young people”.
“There is no one,” the Provincial went on to say, “poorer or more abandoned who
has been abused by someone in the Church.” That means that dealing with this
terrible reality is the core business of the Church. It is not an added extra
or something on the sidelines but is at the heart of what we need to do as a
For all of our mistakes and the terrible damage that has been done there is a
growing sense that – and some would so say “at long last” – the Church is
starting to “get it” and starting to do something about it.
You know that we are totally committed to dealing with this terrible problem as
best we can. The fact is, it is only by all of us understanding ourselves as
called to this together that we have any hope of bringing healing and hope to
those who have been hurt and making sure that, as far as humanly possible, it
never happens again.
I get a sense that our society here in Western Australia wants us to get this
right. They will be happy to see us getting it right. Every time we do
something right, people get in touch and say “thank goodness you are doing
We are on the right path and, yes, we will make mistakes as we walk into the
future but if we can support each other, encourage each other and work
together, then I think we can hope, believe and trust that our present, and
especially our future, will be a much better story for us to tell than our
past.” (Blessing of new offices for Professional Standards WA – 5
December 2014. Click here for full text)