Cardinal: Abortion Is Bigger Sin Than Priest Abuse
George Pell says, “I have always been on the side of the victims.” But the archbishop of Sydney has a funny way of expressing his support.
During an inquiry this week into what the Herald Sun describes as “rampant” child sexual abuse by priests going back decades, Pell admitted, “We’ve been slow to address the anguish of the victims and dealt with it very imperfectly.” He acknowledged that his predecessor, Sir Frank Little, “did cover up” sex abuse and that former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns knew of accusations and destroyed documents and moved suspects to other parishes, actions that were “followed by disastrous consequences.” The Victorian parliament has already assessed that roughly 620 children were sexually abused by clergy in Australia from the 1930s to the present. It was abuse that was not just perpetrated but concealed by the nation’s hierarchy. “The primary motivation would have been to respect the reputation of the church,” Pell admitted. “There was a fear of scandal.”
In his remarks, Pell was apologetic and specific in his acknowledgment of wrongdoing. “I don’t think many, if any, persons in the leadership of the Catholic Church knew what a horrendous widespread mess we were sitting on. There’s no doubt about it that lives have been blighted,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it that these crimes have contributed to too many suicides.”