Bishop Michael Kennedy will not move Loud Fence Ribbons

Bishop's backflip: Sexual abuse survivor and Loud Fence advocate Robyn Knight is pleased with Catholic Diocese of Armidale’s Bishop Michael Kennedy's decision to leave ribbons on the Armidale Catholic Cathedral fence.

Bishop's backflip: Sexual abuse survivor and Loud Fence advocate Robyn Knight is pleased with Catholic Diocese of Armidale’s Bishop Michael Kennedy's decision to leave ribbons on the Armidale Catholic Cathedral fence.

Bishop Michael Kennedy has announced the church will not relocate Loud Fence ribbons at the Armidale Catholic Cathedral.

The decision comes after an online petition, started by sexual abuse victim Phil Wright, received hundreds of signatures to protest the move.

“These plans will no longer proceed,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Having now heard more of the concerns of abuse survivors, parishioners, and members of the Loud Fence movement it is clear to me that to proceed with my announced plans for a memorial and for moving the ribbons may cause further hurt rather than alleviating it.”

Loud Fence advocate, Robyn Knight said she was “pleased that he has listened to the community response”.

“We take it as a sign of good faith and a step towards bridging the barrier between the victims and the church,” Ms Knight said.

Plans to relocate the memorial from the Cathedral fence to within the church grounds were announced on August 14, in an attempt to create a “peaceful and prayerful space” for victims and survivors of child abuse, Mr Kennedy said.

“The memorial was intended to be a visible sign well beyond the Royal Commission to assist in breaking down the silence surrounding child abuse and supporting survivors on their path of healing,” he said. 

“In my desire to reach a timely solution the process of consultation before announcing a decision has been too rushed.

“To those survivors and parishioners who have indicated that you find the ribbons confronting I acknowledge your pain.

“I commit myself to listening to your thoughts and ideas on this most important matter.”

Mr Wright said his petition was still gaining support online with 494 signatures and counting.

“We will hit 500 by the time I forward the petition today,” he said.

The Loud Fence group will meet at the Cathedral on Sunday to tie ribbons and release balloons in honour of seven former O’Connor students and victims of sexual abuse who have committed suicide.

“We’ll invite the Bishop to bless the ribbons and balloons,” he said. If you or anyone you know needs help contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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