The Catholic Church in England and Wales has welcomed the setting up of an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, led by Justice Lowell Goddard, and has set up a council to assist the inquiry in its deliberations.
Baroness Nuala O'Loan will chair this council, which has representatives from both the Bishops' Conference and the Conference of Religious (for full membership of the council see below). This Council will support the numerous organisations that make up the Catholic Church in England and Wales and will speak with and for the Church. It will ensure that the evidence required by the Inquiry is collated appropriately.
The Church is committed to the safeguarding of all children and vulnerable adults and following two independent enquiries both Dioceses and Religious Orders are committed to following nationally agreed guidelines and robust policies to promote safeguarding. All allegations of abuse are immediately reported to the police and the Church co-operates fully with any subsequent investigation by the statutory authorities.
Baroness O'Loan said: "The role of the council is to facilitate and ensure the proper response to the Enquiry, which has the Church's full support. We look forward to hearing their specific requests and will ensure full co-operation with their deliberations."
The full membership of the Catholic Church's Inquiry Council is:
Chair Baroness Nuala O'Loan
Bishop Marcus Stock - Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
Fr Chris Thomas - Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
Abbot Richard Yeo - Conference of Religious
Sister Lyndsey Spendalow - Conference of Religious
Brother James Boner - Conference of Religious
Colette Limbrick - Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service
Dr Helen Costigan - Canon lawyer
Msgr Gordon Reed - Canon lawyer