Vatican opens canonical inquiry into Australian bishop
Saunders then submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, which was accepted in August 2021.
Saunders strongly denied the allegations, which were made by Aboriginal men from remote communities in the West Kimberley region, according to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The diocese of western australia covers the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of the state – an area larger than Texas. About 35,000 people live in nearly 300,000 square miles, of which just under a third are Catholic.
Accused, who served as a priest and bishop in the diocese for nearly 50 years, will reside outside the diocese while the Church investigates, letter says published Saturday by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference which was read at Masses in the Diocese of Broome over the weekend.
The document, signed by Apostolic Administrator Bishop Michael Morrisey and Archbishop Coleridge, said the Church’s investigation “could not take place” until the police investigations were completed.
“Church protocols, particularly those enshrined in Pope Francis’ document ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi,’ mean that the outcome of a police investigation does not preclude the Church from conducting its own investigation,” said Colleridge. said.