THE diocese of Tasmania will sell more than 120 church properties in a bid to raise the estimated $A8 million required to make new and additional redress payments to survivors of child sexual abuse.
The plan, to go before the diocesan synod in June, will involve the sale of churches, halls, houses, and land — estimated to be about half the property owned by the diocese, which comprises 48 parishes across the island state.
In a pastoral letter, the Bishop of Tasmania, Dr Richard Condie, said that the redress money would be raised through a proportion of the sale proceeds, and from parish funds, and two ministry funds. He has commented that the diocese is committed “to the justice, recognition, and support of survivors of sexual abuse”.
Describing it as “an extraordinarily painful exercise”, Dr Condie said that it would mean that “a number of our parishes will be significantly altered, and many ministries will be disrupted.” The sales would occur over the next three to four years. He continued: “Sadly, we are bearing the cost of the sins of those who have gone before us, and we do not believe there is any other viable solution.”
Dr Condie also said that the former Bishop of Tasmania, the Rt Revd Philip Newell, would now face a diocesan tribunal after a report from assessors had considered evidence concerning his management of sexual-abuse allegations given at the recently concluded Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (News, 17 February 2017).