Bishop Tim Harris says church’s crediblty is shot after child abuse
Bishop Tim Harris says church’s crediblty is shot after child abuse

‘Our credibility’s shot’: Bishop’s plea for redemption

The head of the Catholic Church in Townsville has declared their "credibility is shot" after more child sex offences have come to air, though he has vowed he is doing everything in his power to ensure history never repeats itself.

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Townsville Tim Harris said he was horrified to read of further charges for former Townsville priest Neville Joseph Creen.

"Words don't describe how I really feel. It's a sense of horror that this manifested itself in the 60s, 70s, and 80s," Bishop Harris said.

"Let's be honest, he's got a history and it's been well documented.

"It's a terrible, sad history and one I'm constantly reflecting on because his name and more victims keep coming up.

Townsville Bishop Tim Harris. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Townsville Bishop Tim Harris. Picture: Zak Simmonds

"It's a situation we can't hide, I have continual concern he's harmed so many people over a period of time."

Since taking over as the Bishop for the Townsville Diocese three and a half years ago, Bishop Harris has tirelessly crusaded to cultivate a safe environment at the church.

He said he will never give up the good fight.

"I've always tried to encourage victims to come forward," he said.

"I don't want history to repeat itself. We can't go there again, we can't repeat what happened in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Townsville Bishop Tim Harris has called for the remaining five Bali Nine prisoners to be released. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Townsville Bishop Tim Harris has called for the remaining five Bali Nine prisoners to be released. Picture: Zak Simmonds

"I want to run a discourse that's on the front foot and puts in structures that make our church a safer place.

"Once we get a case we jump on it immediately. We encourage people to report it to the police and we take it further. No stone is left unturned.

"The church's credibility is already shot. To recover from this is going to take a long time.

"We have to do more than pray for the victims, we have to put our money where our mouth is and support them.

"I apologise to everybody. We're doing what we can."

Originally published as 'Our credibility's shot': Bishop's passionate plea for redemption


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