Victorian church leaders have acknowledged victims of abuse
and urged the community to open their hearts to others while
Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart says people must
remember victims of violence, those abused by clergy and the
thousands left devastated by natural disasters, such as in
In his Christmas message he says the community's response to
such tragedies must always be of compassion, action and
"We are also a church touched by grief, especially when we
see innocent people suffer," he said.
"We pray especially for the innocent victims of sexual abuse
in the church and acknowledge the courage of those victims
who have come forward to speak of their abuse."
Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier urged
people to remember the story of Jesus Christ on Christmas
"I invite you, this Christmas, to open your hearts and minds
to hear his life-giving message afresh," he said.
"The despair, violence and suffering of the world will never
overcome this light."
Uniting Church Moderator of the Victoria and Tasmania Synod
Dan Wootton said it was a time to reflect.
He said the greatest gift people could give was one of
generosity, to stop and listen to the plight of asylum
seekers, the injustices against indigenous people, and to
understand people of other faiths.
"Now, in this instant, pay attention to God, our steadfast
hope, to our own stubborn hope that emerges fresh from
turmoil and unrest," he said.
"I urge you to listen ever so quietly."