A public Salesian Province Apology to victims of abuse was given Fr Greg Chambers SDB, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Australia and the Pacific, on Thursday 8 December 2016, the Feastday of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
“As the Salesians of the Province of Mary Help of Christians of Australia and the Pacific, we are painfully aware that our personal and collective story has often been tainted by brokenness and sinfulness. In particular, we want to sincerely acknowledge the reality and scourge of the sexual abuse of minors that has visited us during our journey.
From the very beginning of our Salesian story, the beacon pointing out our identity and our mission has always been and will be the welfare, the education and the integral formation of young people, particularly the poor and abandoned ones. For us Salesians nothing is more precious and more sacred than the life of a young person. That will always be the absolute and unconditional raison d’etre for us. Consequently, any form of abuse is a denial of our vision and all we stand for, as well as a desecration of the very life of those we work for, depriving the most vulnerable of their dignity and of their future.
Unfortunately we have seriously betrayed the trust placed on us and denied our mission and our responsibilities, particularly at Salesian College Sunbury. Today we say ‘sorry’ unconditionally and wholeheartedly to the victims and their families for the deep hurt our wrongdoing has caused. As a province community, we wish to apologise most sincerely and ask for their forgiveness.
For our part, as followers of Saint John Bosco whom the Church has called ‘Father and Teacher of Youth’, we unashamedly admit to our wrongdoings perpetrated through all forms of abuse on so many innocent victims, and commit ourselves to ensure that such evil will never occur again in our province of Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji. While we apologise and ask for their forgiveness, we are firmly committed to continue our journey of support and compassion towards mutual healing and peace of heart and mind as the Lord has committed us to do.”
Fr Greg Chambers sdb
8 December 2016