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The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) today welcomed the Pope’s apology to the Stolen Generations.

"We are really pleased to receive this apology from the Pope.  It shows that he hasn’t forgotten our people since he met with us in Alice Springs in 1986, and that he cares for us.  This marks a new beginning in our relationship with the Church.   This is one of the most historical statements I’ve seen addressing the injustices suffered by Indigenous peoples,” said Vicki Walker, Chairperson of NATSICC.

“This is great news.  The stories of pain inflicted by the actions of Church people, even though they may have acted out of good intentions, have been heard at the highest levels in the Church.  By acknowledging the past and asking forgiveness, as leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope has helped us all to go forward together”, said Bishop William Morris, Acting Chairman of the ACSJC.

NATSICC is a national body of Indigenous Catholics and advises the Australian Catholic Bishops in relation to matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ACSJC is the national justice and peace agency of the Catholic Church in Australia.

The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania is posted on the Vatican website at www.vatican.va.   It is a message from the Pope in response to the Synod for Oceania held in Rome in 1998.  The apology appears in paragraph 28 in Chapter III Telling the Truth in Oceania.

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