'The congregation is deeply sorry for the hurt we have caused'

Wed, May 27, 2009, 01:00

CHRISTIAN BROTHERS' STATEMENT:THE CHRISTIAN Brothers accept, with shame, the findings of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. The congregation is deeply sorry for the hurt we have caused -not just for the mistakes of the past, but for the inadequacy of our responses over recent years.

As a congregation we recognise and accept our culpability along with our moral obligation to former residents, to present and future generations of children and to society as a whole.

Our breach of trust has tarnished the name of Edmund Rice and the principles for which he stood.

We have extended the suffering of former residents who were either not listened to or not believed. As a congregation we want to make amends and to beg forgiveness.

Our first step in doing so will be to listen with a fresh perspective to former residents, to their families and to representative groups - a process which will commence immediately.

In addition, the Brothers, in consultation with former residents and other stakeholders, including Government, will review how our resources can best be applied in reparation for abuses of the past and as an investment in child education and welfare for present and future generations.

This review process will extend to all of our resources above and beyond such accommodation and means necessary to maintain the members of our congregation and to support selected commitments at home and overseas.

The extent of dramatic change anticipated by the Christian Brothers will require some little time to consider.

The congregation does not want to compromise services currently provided or supported by us.

The Christian Brothers respectfully ask for the space and time to properly consider these matters.

We would expect to provide further updates in this regard within a six-week period.

In addition, the Brothers have cause for reflection on many of the deeper issues emanating from the report, such as how our congregation, established to cherish and protect children, so lost its way and failed in its most basic duty of care to children.

This process will involve retracing our steps right back to Br Edmund Ignatius Rice while looking at the needs of society today. We are committed to seeing this through looking at all possible options open to us.