Australian bishops meet with Vatican officials to discuss Catholic Church situation

Australian bishops met with top Vatican officials in Rome last week to talk about the situation of the Catholic Church in Australia, as well as the child sex abuse issue that it has been embroiled in, according to a press release from the Holy See Press Office.

(Jeremy Piper / Handout via REUTERS)Officials involved with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse stand as the public hearing into the Catholic Church authorities, begins another session in Sydney, Australia, February 6, 2017.

The communiqué revealed that the leadership of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference went to Rome last week and spoke with officials of the Secretariat of State and the Holy See about the issues that the Catholic Church in Australia is currently facing. They discussed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the relationship of the Church with society, among several other things, the Vatican Radio detailed.

ACBC president Most Rev. Denis J. Hart, vice president Most Rev. Mark Coleridge and Justice Neville Owen of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council represented the Australian delegation during the meeting in Rome.

On Oct. 5, the Australian bishops met with the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin; the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher; the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops Mark Ouellet, and the Secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Archbishop Giacomo Morandi.

Sexual abuse is one of the most controversial issues that churches in Australia are currently facing. Last month, The Guardian reported that the Anglican church failed to pay the agreed $1.5 million in settlement to a child sex abuse survivor who sued the Brisbane diocese in late 2015.

The survivor, who requested anonymity, suffered sexual abuse at the hands of convicted pedophile Gregory Robert Knight while he was at St. Paul's school during the 1980s. After a mediation in July, the Brisbane diocese agreed to pay the settlement on Sept. 13.

However, the Brisbane diocese told lawyers of the firm Shine Lawyers that the deadline was supposed to be on Sept. 28. Still, the church urgently acted to comply with the payment after it was informed of the error.