Vatican Praises George Pell’s ‘dignified’ Testimony at Sex Abuse Royal Commission
March 5, 2016
|Cardinal George Pell delivers a statement after meeting with victims of abuse in Rome. Picture: Ella Pellegrini|
THE Vatican has praised Cardinal George Pell for his testimony at the royal commission into child sexual abuse, and rejected claims the Catholic Church has done little to help survivors.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the Cardinal “must be accorded the appropriate acknowledgment for his dignified and coherent personal testimony (twenty hours of dialogue with the Royal Commission), from which yet again there emerges an objective and lucid picture of the errors committed in many ecclesial environments (this time in Australia) during the past decades”.
The statement comes after Australian child sex abuse survivors who flew to Rome to watch the Cardinal give evidence, said they were disappointed he told the inquiry he had no knowledge of offending by paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in Ballarat in the 1970s and 1980s.
Fr Lombardi said the inquiry and the Oscar award winning movie Spotlight — a film about The Boston Globe’s investigation into Catholic Church sex abuse — had been “accompanied by a new wave of attention” into the sexual abuse of minors, especially by members of the clergy.
“The sensationalist presentation of these two events has ensured that, for a significant part of the public, especially those who are least informed or have a short memory, it is thought that the Church has done nothing, or very little, to respond to these terrible problems, and that it is necessary to start anew,” he said.
“Objective consideration shows that this is not the case.”