THE secrets held by former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns have gone with him to his grave, say Ballarat clergy sex abuse survivors.
Following Bishop Mulkearns’ death on Monday morning, survivors were unanimous in their feelings.
“It means we don’t have a hope of getting any answers or truth anymore,” Ballarat survivor Andrew Collins said.
“For some time he has been known as the keeper of secrets and his death means he takes his secrets with him. I have been saying for a long time, his legacy was in his own hands. He had the opportunity to come out and set the record straight and he hasn’t done that.”
He said he was hopeful the Catholic Church would not attempt to paint Bishop Mulkearns as honourable.
“It is always a sad thing when someone dies, you have to express your sympathies to family and friends. But he wasn’t an honourable man in life and I would hope the Diocese of Ballarat does not honour him as an honorable man,” he said.
“In death give the man his burial, send the man off to god and do what needs to be done, but don’t honour the man as if he had redeeming features because as far as I am concerned nothing will ever make up for the abuses suffered.
“There are people here who have family that are dead today because of what Mulkearns did.”
Ballarat clergy sex abuse survivor Phil Nagle said Bishop Mulkearns would now be taking his secrets to the grave after failing to fully answer questions around the abuse.
“His passing means a lot of secrets and sins will go to the grave with him,” he said.
“When you look at how this has been going on in history (...) it has been stalled as such, this just makes it a bit easier for the (Catholic Church).”
However, Ballarat survivor Peter Blenkiron said Bishop Mulkearns’ death should act as a reminder to all organisations that child protection should be paramount.
“Let Mulkearns’ death be a reminder to all organisations that children must be safe,” he said.
“Systems, checks and laws must be put in place to protect children of the future and children damaged in the past, that need support today.”