Abuse in Care Inquiry: Catholic Church Cardinal reiterates apology for clergy abuse

The Cardinal of the New Zealand Catholic Church has reiterated an apology he made earlier this year for abuse by clergy.

He's one of several faith-based school and Christian church leaders across Aotearoa, taking part in the Abuse in Care Inquiry.

But within the hour a number of survivors and advocates have walked out on the inquiry.

Like so many, Moeapulu Frances Tagaloa is still dealing with trauma she suffered as a child.

"Impact of trauma from abuse is lifelong, it doesn't stop," she said.

The now-52-year-old was sexually and emotionally abused by clergy in the Catholic Church during the 70s. But she says the Abuse in Care Inquiry has provided her with some hope.

"I don't want to hope too much for true justice because I'm not sure that will happen… but I hope there will be steps to monitor abuse and help prevent it happening to anyone else," she said.

In March, Cardinal John Dew made an apology on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders around the country.

"I fully renew that apology and reiterate that I meant every word of it. Abuse is wrong, it should never be part of the church, I and all of us are ashamed of it," he said.

On Monday he went a step further, acknowledging it's not just about forgiveness.

"That forgiveness was seen to be more important than safeguarding was probably a thing of the past, when the whole sexual abuse was misunderstood, when there wasn't a greater understanding of what it meant, and the whole idea of saying sorry to someone was seen as more important. Today we have a much greater appreciation of what needs to be done for the victim."

It provides some comfort for Tagaloa, who said a survivor-led approach is the only way forward.

"Looking forward, what they have to do is prioritise the survivors. I don't think that any institution can do that by themselves, they need an independent body with a healthy accountability to help them do that," she said.

The week-long hearing continues on Tuesday.