Cardinal George Pell has emphatically denied telling another priest that Fr Gerald Francis Ridsdale was abusing boys again.
Former altar boy BWE has testified he overhead Cardinal Pell tell Fr Frank Madden before a funeral in Ballarat in 1983: "Ha, ha, I think Gerry's been rooting boys again."
Cardinal Pell again denied the claim during his fourth day of evidence to the child abuse royal commission from Rome.
"Let me begin by saying that nearly every detail in this allegation is manifestly false," he said.
Fr Madden has previously told the inquiry Cardinal Pell never said that.
BWE's lawyer sought the cardinal's view on whether or not he felt he had been the target of a witch hunt in Australia because of the child sexual abuse scandals.
"I have never expressed such a view, but I must confess the idea has occurred to me," he said.
Asked if he felt victimised by the commission process, Cardinal Pell said he was keen to take part.
"By the process itself, no, but I am very keen to clearly demonstrate that when false claims are made against me that I explain the grounds why they are false, as I've done in this case."