A SENIOR Bendigo Catholic leader is "deeply disappointed" in the person who removed ribbons from a "loud fence" at the city's cathedral.
The ribbons are both a protest and an acknowledgement of the church's role in institutional sexual and other abuse and have appeared regularly on fences of religious institutions.
The Very Reverend Brian Boyle said he found out someone had them down late on Wednesday afternoon.
"The ribbons had been taken without my permission or authorisation as administrator of the Cathedral, or without the permission or authorisation of the Bishop of Sandhurst," he said.
Dr Boyle does not know who took the ribbons down.
"I would welcome individuals or groups to put ribbons back on the fence surrounding the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo to show support for those who have suffered from sexual abuse," he said.
Dr Boyle was planning to add more ribbons either later on Thursday or tomorrow.
He was also preparing to address the matter in a church bulletin that would likely circulate over the weekend.
"In the bulletin, I will be suggesting that the whole purpose of the ribbons are to draw attention to the silent suffering that so many people have been through over the last several decades as victims of sexual abuse - particularly as it affects the Catholic community in this country," Dr Boyle said.
"The ribbon's presence there [at the cathedral] is a silent witness to those who have been through that sort of suffering. We need to acknowledge that as a primary duty as the Catholic community in this country."
Dr Boyle said it was hard to know why someone would think it would be appropriate to remove the ribbons.
"I would hate to think that anyone would think this was a good or dutiful thing to do," he said.
"It is quite the opposite. It is ignoring the pain of so many people who have suffered."
Dr Boyle said he planned to call back a member of the public who rang the Bendigo Diocese yesterday with concerns about the missing ribbons, thank them and explain how the church planned to rectify the situation.
This story was updated at 9.03am with additional comments by Dr Boyle about how the diocese would respond to the matter.
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