Open Letter to Bishop Roger

Man walking across the beach

Dear Bishop Roger,

I am a solicitor in Newcastle. I have lived here since 1984. I act for many survivors of institutional child abuse all around Australia. For a considerable part of my time here you were the Bishop of Newcastle.

You have admitted to the Child Abuse Royal Commission that you let the people of Newcastle down; you failed to protect them from the paedophiles in your church who were abusing the children right under your nose. You received complaints but turned your face away.

You can’t even remember the distraught parents who came to see you.

You now realise the gravity of your omissions. It must be dreadful to spend 43 years in ‘service’ for the Church and retire with such an appalling legacy. You have ‘resigned’ as you say but truthfully you were nearing retirement anyway, weren’t you?

So it’s not really a resignation is it?

It’s actually a form of voluntary early retirement. I imagine you will be accepting all the benefits of long service and that is what bothers me and prompts me to write to you.

If you are truly remorseful for what you failed to do, will you abandon your rights to a church pension and donate the money you would have received to the victims?

In other words, volunteer to treat yourself as someone who deserves no privileges, as if you were summarily dismissed by your employer?

What are your thoughts on this?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Kelso

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