Church just as repulsed as others 

Difficulty coming to terms with allegations of child sex abuse prevented Catholic Church officials reporting pedophile priests, a NSW inquiry has heard.

Barrister Lachlan Gyles says it was not the culture of the Church that held senior figures back, but their problems in grasping the nature of what was alleged.

“It was not a cultural disinclination to report,” Mr Gyles told the last day of the special commission of inquiry’s public hearings in the Newcastle Supreme Court.

“It was coming to terms (with the fact) that people were capable of doing the things that they were alleged to have done.”

Mr Gyles said church leaders were just as repulsed by child sexual abuse as other people in the community and were now doing all they could to ensure that the offences of the past were not repeated.

Commissioner Margaret Cunneen is investigating the way police and church officials handled child sexual abuse allegations involving two Hunter Valley priests, Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher.

The hearing continues.

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