Emmanuel College principal Peter Morgan “fully endorses” a national apology to the victims and survivors of sexual abuse in former Christian Brothers’ schools.
In an historic first, Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) made its first official apology on behalf of its schools to victims of sexual abuse at the National Arboretum in Canberra on June 1.
Representatives of the education body, which now governs schools and educational facilities previously under the control of Christian Brothers, met with victims of sexual abuse.
Mr Morgan said he was aware of the national apology which was made on behalf of more than 50 Catholic schools across the country. He said he would include the EREA apology in an upcoming school newsletter.
“Whilst Emmanuel College is not governed by EREA, the college fully endorses its apology to the victims and survivors of abuse,” Mr Morgan said.
“I recognise the importance of the apology as one small step towards enabling healing to begin”.
Ballarat’s St Patrick’s College headmaster John Crowley joined Ballarat sexual abuse survivors Andrew Collins and Peter Blenkiron on the trip to the nation’s capital.
Speaking at the event, Mr Crowley said the apology allowed all those involved with the Christian Brothers to “acknowledge openly and honestly the full extent of what has happened”.
“Over the past two years there have been times of silence from senior leaders in Catholic education in response to the work of the Royal Commission,” Mr Crowley said.
“Having spent hundreds of hours in conversation with victims and survivors over the past two years, I know we are at a crossroads and the credibility of our mission as a Church is in question.
“Whether the flicker of hope rekindles and remains alight is up to us.”
EREA executive director Wayne Tinsey said the apology was delivered during EREA’s National Principals’ Conference.
“The national apology has been made by EREA on behalf of all its schools to the survivors and victims of sexual abuse by members of the religious community and lay staff in those schools,” he said.
Dr Tinsey said EREA had consulted widely on the apology, particularly with survivors, who had contributed to its development.
He said the apology had the full support of the Christian Brothers and the Archbishop to the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocese.
“By acknowledging the suffering of survivors in our schools, we hope this apology demonstrates that we have listened to survivors and acted on their views, thoughts, and feelings.
“It is our hope that this apology will go some way to addressing and healing this long-standing omission and hurt,” Dr Tinsey said.