George Pell: Clergy Abuse Survivors Want Vatican Law to Be Rewritten
By Melissa Cunningham
Sydney Morning Herald
March 3, 2016
Ballarat clergy sexual abuse survivors want Vatican law rewritten to protect future generations of children.
|Paul Levey a child sexual abuse victim, says he has no faith in Cardinal Pell. Photo: Melissa Cunningham|
The group, which is still pushing to meet Pope Francis, will put the request to Australia's most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, when they meet with him.
They will also meet a member of the Pontifical Commission for Protection on Minors, an institution which deals with the rampant sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic clergy.
Survivors initially rejected a meeting with the Cardinal after he was accused of "designing" his evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Response into Child Sexual Abuse to deflect blame from himself.
But after the Cardinal dropped restrictions, including that survivors not speak to the media about the meeting, they had a change of heart.
For several victims, the idea of meeting Cardinal Pell following his evidence this week is too painful and they have rejected the offer.
Clergy abuse victim Paul Levey, who was raped daily when he was 14 years-old while living with notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale in Mortlake in 1982, said he had no faith in Cardinal Pell.
"After listening to his testimony for four days, I don't believe we would take anything back to Australia that is worth anything," Mr Levey said.
"I don't think he has been honest, I don't think he is willing to do anything that would help survivors get their lives back together or protect future generations."
Ballarat clergy survivor Peter Blenkiron said victims wanted to meet with Cardinal Pell to push him to rid the church of child sex abusers, with the Vatican still estimating about 2 per cent of clergy are paedophiles.
He said survivors also wanted to the Catholic Church to rewrite Canon Law.
He believed clergy leaders were taking a 1962 directive from the Vatican to conceal sex crimes against children to protect the reputation of the church.
"As far as I am concerned they are all just men running an organisation with a fault in the structure between canon law and law of the land that's enabled the shifting around of paedophiles," Mr Blenkiron said. "It's allowed these paedophiles to flourish and to thrive. It all has to change."
Mr Blenkiron said if the church didn't take action it would show they didn't care about children.
"I have faith they will see it is time to make those changes," he said.
Emotional survivors embraced out the front of the Hotel Quirinale in Rome as Cardinal Pell completed his last day of evidence to the sex abuse inquiry.
Childhood sexual abuse victim Phil Nagle said the past few days had been "killing the survivors inside" but they had been floored by the level of support from all over the world.
Survivors are expected to receive an outcome on their request to meet Pope Francis on Thursday pending the outcome of discussions with senior Vatican officials.