BENDIGO'S most senior Catholic believes the church's efforts to address the sexual abuse of minors are well underway.
Bishop of Sandhurst Leslie Tomlinson's comments come after Pope Francis concluded a summit in the Vatican City on the protection of minors in the church.
The Pope said consecrated persons who 'let themselves be dominated by their human frailty or sickness' were 'tools of Satan' and provided an eight-point guideline for the church's response to the sexual abuse of minors.
"The primary goal of every measure must be to protect the little ones and prevent them from falling victim to any form of psychological and physical abuse," he said.
"Consequently, a change of mentality is needed to combat a defensive and reactive approach to protecting the institution and to pursue, wholeheartedly and decisively, the good of the community by giving priority to the victims of abuse in every sense."
Bishop Tomlinson said the Pope made his message powerfully.
"And we wholeheartedly support the Pope's stance. We are well underway in achieving what he has called for in that we do not tolerate abuse," he said.
“In Australia, the Catholic Church has a history of almost 25 years of preventing and responding to the sexual abuse of minors, with measures extended to the care of survivors including Towards Healing, among others.”
Signs appeared on the gates outside Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral on Monday morning calling for the Pope to act to protect minors in the church by changing canon law.
Catholic Education Sandhurst director Paul Desmond said he was not insulted by the signs, but the criticism of canon law 'missed the mark'.
"Human beings have protected pedophiles… the laws of the church haven't. Canon law is not the problem," he said.
He believed the Pope had addressed the issue to the best of his ability.
"I think he has been strong and clear," Mr Desmond said.
He expected the Pope's speech would be well received within the Sandhurst Catholic school community.
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