Catholic Church says sorry to mothers

By Neelima Choahan
July 72, 2011 / The Courier
BALLARAT’S Catholic Bishop Peter Connors has joined his national counterparts in apologising to single mothers who were forced to give up their babies for adoption from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Bishop Connors, who has been leading the city’s Catholics for 14 years, said he had not personally come across anyone in Ballarat who had been forced to give up their children.

However, he welcomed mothers to come forward and meet with him. “It was not an appropriate way to respond to children born out of wedlock,” Bishop Connors said.

Now, he said, the church took a different view of children born to single mothers.

Rendered by Catholic Health Australia, the Sisters of Mercy (Singleton) Congregation and the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, the apology was part of a senate inquiry into the forced adoption policies and practices in Catholic hospitals and women’s homes.

Catholic Health Australia chief executive officer Martin Laverty said the organisation backed a national framework which would help people access records and “remedy established wrongs”.

Child and Family Services adoption and permanent care co-ordinator Jeneice Robertson said the apology was a good first step.

“I think it is really pertinent and great to see society recognise that we have done a lot of hurt in the past,” Ms Robertson said.

“I am not sure where it leads to but they are certainly on the right path.”


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