In an historic first, Edmund Rice Education Australia has made its first official apology on behalf of its schools to victims of sexual abuse across Australia.
At an event in Canberra this morning representatives of the education body, which now governs schools and educational facilities previously under the control of Christian Brothers, met with victims of sexual abuse.
St Patrick’s College headmaster John Crowley joined Ballarat sexual abuse survivors Andrew Collins and Peter Blenkiron on the trip to the nation’s capital for the historic apology.
Speaking at the event, Mr Crowley said the apology allowed all those involved with the Christian Brothers to “acknowledge openly and honestly the full extent of what has happened”.
“Over the past two years there have been times of silence from senior leaders in Catholic education in response to the work of the Royal Commission,” Mr Crowley said.
“Having spent hundreds of hours in conversation with victims and survivors over the past two years, I know we are at a crossroads and the credibility of our mission as a Church is in question.
Whether the flicker of hope rekindles and remains alight is up to us.”
The national apology was made on behalf of more than 50 schools across the country by the education body.
In a statement EREA executive director Dr Wayne Tinsey said he hoped the national apology would demonstrate sexual abuse survivors had been listened to.
“As today’s stewards of our values, we acknowledge this is part of a destructive and shameful reality in our national history.
We are totally committed to it never happening again.”