Headmaster’s Message – March 8, 2019

March 7, 2019

Dear Parents, Carers, Staff and Students of St Patrick’s College,

As you will be aware, last week’s news of Cardinal Pell’s conviction has seen a period of great personal and collective challenge for all of us and for many reasons. I am particularly aware of the impact it has had on staff who have given many years of service to Catholic Education and on Old Collegians who care a great deal about their former school.

As I said in the recent statement sent home to members of our community, the decision of the College to revoke the honours held by Cardinal Pell, in response to the findings of the jury, and fully endorsed by our governing authority, Edmund Rice Education Australia, was made with the best interests of the current students and community in mind. I have also stated clearly that in making this decision, we fully acknowledge Cardinal Pell’s intention to appeal.

Subsequent to this announcement, we have received many messages of support from families, staff and past students who have acknowledged our reasons for it and believe it is the right decision for our boys.

It is also important to recognise that some Old Collegians and other members of the wider community have contacted me to express concern with our decision.

In responding to all members of our College community, past and present, I simply want to acknowledge all of these responses in a spirt of openness in the hope that, while it is a difficult time for us all, we can agree that the overriding consideration in making this decision must be what is best for the current boys in our care. In the end, the wellbeing of our boys must take precedence.

Furthermore, as a community seeking genuine reconciliation with those wounded in our Church and at our school, we remain ever-mindful of the journey we have walked as a school community in solidarity with victims and survivors of abuse over the past four and a half years.

One tangible way in which this solidarity and care is being authentically lived within our College community is through our OCA Pastoral Care Program. On a daily basis, we are coordinating a variety of services generously offered by former students and current families of the College to assist those in our community most in need, including a number of victims and survivors. In doing so we are making a real difference in the lives of those we help. If there are any families interested in offering their time or skills to this important program please contact our Alumni Officer, Lorrie Liston at lliston@stpats.vic.edu.au or by calling 5322 4442.

May we continue to be a community present for the vulnerable by responding fully to each person who requires our help and presence, people who accept differences of opinion in a commitment of togetherness and people who always seek to give active witness to the Gospel of Jesus.

Have a lovely long weekend.

Mr John Crowley