National    BISHOPS' APOLOGY SETS COMMUNITY EXAMPLE
The Australian Council of Churches has commended the Australian Bishops' statement of repentance as an 'evangelical example for all Churches to follow'.
   The statement, released by Cardinal Clancy, was a general apology for the past failings of the local Church with a particular emphasis on "mis-guided" attempts to assist Indigenous people which "have led to unintended but harmful long-term consequences."
   "It's never easy for a Church to face its shadow side," David Gill, General Secretary to the Australian Council of Churches, told The Catholic Weekly. "The more we can do that, the more credibility we'll have in the general community."
   President of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, Sr Margaret Cassidy, also reacted positively to the Bishops' initiative.
   "This statement is a public acknowledgement of the human frailty that will always be part of the faith community," Sr Margaret said.
   Fr Frank Fletcher, credited with establishing the first ministry in Sydney that was wholly devoted to the pastoral needs of the Aboriginal people, agreed that the statement needed to be made a reality at the grass roots level.
   "There's still a long way to go in parishes, in towns, in suburbs," Fr Fletcher said.
   
Cath Weekly
16/3/00

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