Wollongong is closer (about an hour’s drive south) to Sydney than Melbourne, and now their bishop has offered a public apology. From the local press there:
I offer my sincere apology to those who have suffered abuse at the hands of a member of the clergy or indeed, any person representing the Catholic Church, particularly one who was ministering in the name of the Diocese of Wollongong. You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry.
No mealy-mouth on this. A good first step for Bishop Peter Ingham and Catholics of the Gong. See if you can be his friend and encourage this step. Or something. More will have to come, to be sure. But the bishop was moved by the repeated surfacing of the issue of cover-up and abuse at diocesan consulting sessions with the laity:
My apology was necessary in this climate.
An interesting line in the Macarthur Chronicle article:
Bishop Ingham said he had not consulted Sydney Archbishop George Pell, who has so far only endorsed others’ apologies to victims rather than make his own, before going ahead.
Ouch. Is that really true? We know Cardinal Pell has said recently that he would apologize. But has he actually done so? The Sydney suburban press doesn’t seem to think so.