Sexual abuse survivor Paul Levey has applauded the head of the royal commission into child sexual abuse for slamming the culture within the Catholic Church that sought to mitigate its blame for the scandal.
Justice Peter McLellan said it was shocking the church argued sexual abuse was a "moral failure" rather than a criminal act.
The head of the royal commission into child sex abuse has condemned Catholic leaders for failing to recognise the sexual assault of children as a crime.
Justice Peter McClellan has spoken about the royal commission for the first time in a speech to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Justice McClellan reflected on the fact many leaders of the Catholic Church argued sexual abuse was a "moral failure" rather than a criminal act.
"I cannot comprehend how any person, much less one with qualifications in theology ... could consider the rape of a child to be a moral failure but not a crime," he said.
"This statement by leaders of the Catholic Church marks out the corruption within the church both within Australia, and it seems from reports, in many other parts of the world."
"I hope this is not because of a desire to put the protection of the institution's assets ahead of the needs of survivors," he said.
Mr Levey, who was subjected to daily abuse by Gerald Ridsdale at the Mortlake presbytery when he was a teenager, said the church acted like it was above the law.
He said the church was out of touch with the community.
Mr Levey was just one of hundreds of victims within the Ballarat Diocese who were abused with impunity over several decades and which the Catholic Church under Bishop O'Collins and Mulkearns then covered up, the Royal Commission found.
Justice McClellan also said he was disheartened by delays in institutions signing up to the national redress scheme for survivors of child abuse. "I hope this is not because of a desire to put the protection of the institution's assets ahead of the needs of survivors," he said.