NEW ribbons have appeared on the Sacred Heart Cathedral's fence days after an unknown person took others down.
Church administrator the Very Reverend Brian Boyle was among those who have so far added new ribbons to acknowledge the Catholic church's role in institutionalised abuse.
"I really hope more people do. We are encouraging them to come down in their own time," he said.
Someone removed all ribbons from the so-called "loud fence" earlier this week.
It remains unclear what motivated them.
Dr Boyle hopes the church's swift and vocal response will discourage them from doing it again.
"I think the person might come to see it as an ill-judged action if they see what our response has been," he said.
None of the ribbons Dr Boyle and others attached to the fence on Thursday disappeared overnight.
"We will see what happens tonight and whether our phantom person returns," he said on Friday.
Dr Boyle said most members of Bendigo's Catholic community would be as upset as he was to see the ribbons removed.
He said the city's Catholics knew how important it was to be witnesses to past failures and to help make sure they never happened again.
The ribbons would likely be a source for reflection as congregations gathered in person or online over the weekend, Dr Boyle said.
Loud fences have triggered strong reactions in many Australian towns over the years.
As recently as the start of the month, passers-by were alarmed to see a man removing ribbons from a cathedral fence in Ballarat.
The man said he wanted to protect the fences, which he said were being damaged by the ribbons.
"They've been here two or three years, isn't that enough time?" he said to a journalist.
Ballarat Diocese leaders quickly condemned the man's actions and made clear he was not authorised to remove the ribbons.
St Patrick Parish administrator Father Justin Driscol said the ribbons' removal deeply hurt and angered many people.
"The way forward can only be through genuine dialogue amongst people who seek to work together to ensure that survivors of child sexual abuse know that their experience is never forgotten, that institutions such as ours ensure that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is one of our greatest priorities and that justice for survivors is an essential dimension to healing," he told Ballarat's Courier newspaper.
Hours after the incident, people began adding hundreds of new ribbons to the fence.
- With the Courier
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