Facing up to past sins:[1 State Edition]
The Advertiser. Adelaide, S. Aust.:Oct 20, 2006. p. 20
THE Anglican Church in Adelaide deserves praise for finally taking
comprehensive action to combat child sex abuse.
After several years of prolonged criticism over its mishandling of child sex
abuse allegations, the Diocese of Adelaide has developed a multifaceted
strategy which could become a benchmark for other Anglicans across Australia.
Central to the response is requiring priests to report child sex abuse to
authorities and church officials, regardless of whether they learned of
offences within confession or during other confidential discussions.
Some priests have voiced concerns within the church about the new rules,
arguing they pose a serious threat to the sacred relationship between priests
and their parishioners.
Their concerns have been acknowledged by Adelaide Archbishop Jeffrey Driver
and, quite rightly, put aside in the interests of those who suffer sex abuse at
the hands of priests, church workers and church volunteers.
Archbishop Driver this week marks his first year as the most senior Anglican
priest in South Australia, having taken control over a church reeling from
widespread revelations of child sex abuse.
He personally has driven a significant reform agenda within the church since
his arrival from Victoria last October, with the child sex abuse strategy
absorbing much of his time.
It is a strategy which has considerable merit and one which the Diocese of
Adelaide Synod must now implement when it meets next weekend at St Peter's
The Synod has no option but to demonstrate a willingness - and determination -
to acknowledge that past behaviour within the church by pedophiles within its
ranks, and those who sought to cover up their transgressions, was unacceptable.
Only by doing this will the Anglican Church be able to continue its long and
painful path to recovery from what has been the most difficult period in its
proud South Australian history.
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