National Catholic Reporter
Joshua J. McElwee | Jun. 1, 2015 NCR Today
The Vatican’s main spokesman has downplayed comments made about Australian Cardinal George Pell by a member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse, saying the member was speaking in his own name and not in the authority of the commission.
Commission member Peter Saunders, an English survivor of clergy sexual abuse, said in an Australian television interview Sunday that Pell had had an “almost sociopathic” disregard for abuse victims.
Responding to Saunders’ interview, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said in a statement Monday that Saunders was speaking in his own name. The papal commission on clergy sexual abuse, Lombardi said in the statement, “does not have the task of investigating and pronouncing specific judgment on single cases.”
The Vatican spokesman also referred journalists to Pell’s own statements on the matter, saying those “must be considered reliable and worthy of respect and attention.”
Saunders serves as one of 17 members of the papal commission, which is formally known as the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. He made his comments about Pell Sunday on the popular television program 60 Minutes, the Australian version of the U.S. newsmagazine broadcast.
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