Mr. Francis Sullivan was the Chief Executive Officer of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) which coordinated the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia for over five years. The Council was established in response to the Royal Commission and the imperative for the Church to address the past openly and honestly, the good with the bad. The creation of the Council allowed the Church to speak with one voice before the Royal Commission, representing the numerous organisations that make up the Catholic Church. The Council concluded its work on Monday, 30 April 2018.
In his time as CEO, Mr. Sullivan, a qualified layman, was the voice of the Catholic Church before the Royal Commission. As he concluded his time in this role this week, in one last blog post, he wrote: This scandal has been a real wake up call for me and I hope for my Church. Do we get it yet? I think the jury is still out. What will it take for survivors and their families to believe that we do ‘get it’? Some days I am at a loss to really know. What I do know at least is that actions do speak louder than words.
The TJHC has worked with admirable determination and transparency, making the documents of the council available to all on their website. Most importantly, the work of the council has given a voice to survivors. In his final post, Mr. Sullivan noted: The Royal Commission gave a potent voice to survivors. In doing so it placed a mirror in front of our Church. This needs to be grasped as ‘a creative disruptor’ to renew, reinvigorate and regenerate the essence of being Church. Before all else survivors and their families need to get a better deal out of the Church. They need real recognition and decent treatment. Rather than struggling for a fair go they should feel overwhelmed by a generous and lasting response.
The CCP acknowledges and has deep respect and for Mr. Sullivan for the enormous task he has accomplished in his strenuous work that had not always received due appreciation and support. We extend our gratitude to the Truth, Justice and Healing Council for all they have done.
Thank you for your service to survivors and your witness in the Church and God bless for your new endeavors!