He said: “Today, given the importance of this moment, I express to you my regret, also on behalf of the bishops and other religious leaders.” Today I also apologize on behalf of those who have preceded us as bishops and leaders of the Catholic Church. “We do not justify them, nor our actions that caused harm,” Dio said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appointed the royal commission in 2018, saying the country must face “a dark chapter in its history.” Although the focus was initially on healthcare institutions, the churches themselves and other religious institutions were later added to the survey.
An interim report released last December showed that between the 1960s and early 2000s, as many as a quarter of a million vulnerable children, youth and adults experienced physical and sexual abuse in institutions. Babies under the age of nine months are said to have been abused by employees, clergy, and adoptive parents. Among other things, the victims were raped and underwent electroconvulsive treatment.
“We are aware that the system and culture within the church made this violation possible.” Dio said, “This system and culture have failed you and you need to change.”
The royal commission will advise the government on this issue later this year.
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