QUESTIONS have been raised over the absence of former bishop Ronald Mulkearns from the inquiry into institutionalised child abuse being held today at Parliament House.
Current bishop Paul Bird says Bishop Mulkearns memory has been affected by a stroke.
However, committee member Frank McGuire says he should appear to explain why Father Gerald Ridsdale was moved around parishes, even when his offending was known.
In response to Mr McGuire asking if Bishop Mulkearns had "wilful blindness", Bishop Bird said he had instead made "tragic mistakes" and was just following the accepted opinions of his time.
"Dismissal was not the first option," Bishop Bird said.
"They would go to be treated to correct the behaviour which proved to be a terrible mistake with tragic consequences.
"Gerald Ridsdale should have been taken out of the ministry."
Committee member Andrea Coote has also raised questions about any knowledge Bishop George Pell may have had about child sex abuse in Ballarat.
"It is not unreasonable to suggest George Pell knew about this," Ms Coote said.
However, Bishop Connors said Bishop Pell could give his own evidence and he didn't wish to speak for him.
Mr McGuire asked why the police were not informed earlier of Ridsdale's criminal behaviour, but Bishop Connors said police were called over an incident in 1975.
However, Bishop Mulkearns said the offender would be counselled and have therapy and the issue wasn't taken any further.
"This was child rape, child sex abuse," Mr McGuire said.
"Fr Gerald Ridsdale was one of the worst offenders in Australian history. In 1975 there was knowledge of his offences ... why didn't it become a charge?
"Why did he keep getting moved onto different parishes to commit these heinous crimes?
"Was the church also taking a narrow view of the issues and trying to avoid scrutiny and accountability?"
Ms Coote said the submissions to the inquiry had been very poignant."Ballarat was almost the worst of all," Ms Coote said.