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Australian archbishop admits predecessors covered up abuse

Catholic World News - May 20, 2013

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia, has admitted that Church leaders in the past did not respond adequately to sex-abuse complaints.

The archbishop told a formal inquiry that “the Church was too keen to look after herself and her good name and not keen enough to address the terrible anguish of the victims.”

Archbishop Hart said that one of his predecessors, Archbishop Thomas Little, who headed the Melbourne archdiocese from 1974 to 1996, had kept all records of clerical abuse to himself, leaving no documentation. Asked whether that would constitute a cover-up, Archbishop Hart said: “Well, I have to agree with that.” He said: “I’m not making excuses for any of my predecessors.”

However, the archbishop said that the Church now handles sex-abuse accusations promptly and thoroughly. He agreed that credible accusations should be forwarded to police.

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