AN inquiry into abuse in religious institutions has prompted a Colac church to canvass the views of its parishioners.
Colac’s Catholic Church has organised an open forum, where members can discuss the impending Victorian parliamentary inquiry.
Forum chairman Jim Ryan of Colac said people could also talk about other issues.
“Father Michael O’Toole thought it might be a good idea, with all the publicity that’s been in the paper about various challenges the church is facing,” Mr Ryan said.
“People can talk about various challenges before the church and anything they wish to raise – it’s not set just about the proposed parliamentary inquiry,” he said.
Mr Ryan said he couldn’t recall the last time the church had organised a similar event.
“It will be fairly informal, I think it’s a good idea,” he said.
“It’s perhaps a positive step, to give people their opportunity to have their view.”
The parliamentary inquiry will investigate the handling of allegations of the abuse of children by religious and other non-government organisations.
The government said the inquiry would have “broad” terms of reference to consider the practices, policies and protocols of the organisations.
The inquiry can assess responses to alleged abuse and recommend changes to the law or to relevant policies and practices.
A letter from the state’s six Catholic bishops to parishioners in March also brought attention to the debate around gay marriage and proposed changes to the Marriage Act.
The forum will be at Colac’s St Mary’s Church tomorrow at 5.30pm.