October 20, 2011. (Romereports.com)
Benedict XVI met with the bishops of Australia during their “ad limina” visit to Rome. He spoke to them about some of the recent problems confronting the Church in Australia, one of which was cases of sex abuse by clergy members.Benedict XVI“It is true that yours is a pastoral burden which has been made heavier by the past sins and mistakes of others, most regrettably including some clergy and religious; but the task now falls to you to continue to repair the errors of the past with honesty and openness, in order to build, with humility and resolve, a better future for all concerned.”
Benedict XVI also spoke to them about Australia's first saint, the nun Mary Mackillop, whose life could serve as an inspiration for people today.
The nun denounced an abusive priest and was excommunicated by the bishop as a result. But in the end the bishop realized his error and readmitted the nun and asked for forgiveness. Benedict XVI“Saint Mary MacKillop’s courageous response to the difficulties she faced throughout her life can also inspire today's Catholics as they confront the new evangelization and serious challenges to the spread of the Gospel in society as a whole.”
At the end of the meeting, the pope gave a cross to each bishop in attendance as a sign of communion with Rome.