By Melissa Meehan and Tracey Ferrier
June 1, 2015
Cardinal George Pell will be asked to give evidence at the royal commission into child sex abuse as the Catholic Church has asked Australians to give him a fair go.
The commission will ask him to return from Rome to appear in the second of the Ballarat hearings later this year.
“The Chair has received a letter from Cardinal Pell indicating that he is prepared to come to Australia to give evidence,” the commission said in a statement on Monday.
He has promised full co-operation with the royal commission.
Cardinal Pell came under fire following claims aired in the first Ballarat hearings last month that he offered bribes or ignored warnings about Australia’s worst paedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, in the 1970s.
Many survivors of abuse demanded the Vatican’s finance chief appear again at the commission to answer the claims he has already repeatedly denied.
The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne came out in Cardinal Pell’s defence on Monday urging people to hold off from making hasty judgments.
“I hope all Australians who believe in a fair go will give Cardinal Pell the opportunity to answer the criticisms that have been raised in both the royal commission and the media before drawing any final conclusions,” Archbishop Denis Hart said in a statement on Monday.
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