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New Zealand Catholic Church Fails To Deliver On Sexual Abuse Redress Promises

Officials of the New Zealand Catholic Church “have failed to fulfil, and are not fulfilling their obligations to victims and survivors of clergy and religious sexual abuse under their redress scheme,” according to a new study on the New Zealand Catholic Church’s institutional response to clerical and religious sexual abuse.

The study published last week in Stimulus, a journal issued by Laidlaw College, New Zealand’s largest interdenominational theological tertiary institute, questions how the Catholic Church in New Zealand’s redress scheme Te Houhanga Rongo – A Path To Healing (APTH), has fared in light of its own criteria.

Conclusions based on independently verifiable evidence confirm that justice due to victims and survivors has not been delivered.

Outlined in the study were numerous examples of non-compliance with A Path to Healing’s principles and procedures by Church officials entrusted with implementing the APTH protocol.

Testimony of victims and survivors who experienced APTH redress was documented. Among the testimonies were “denial of wrongdoing in concrete cases of abuse, the shielding of perpetrators, the protection of institutional reputation and financial assets, the isolation and disbelief of complainants, and concerted efforts to trivialize complaints.”

Laidlaw’s head of theology, Myk Habets, stated regarding the report in Stimulus: “While this is hard reading, it is necessary reading if the church is to learn from its mistakes, repent, and do better.”

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in New Zealand (SNAP Aotearoa), hopes that this new study allows the public to "judge the resolve of whether church leaders in New Zealand have responded fairly and compassionately as they promised to do."

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