Cardinal George Pell admits ‘indefensible’ errors in abuse crisis

Religion News Service

Rosie Scammell | February 29, 2016

ROME (RNS) Australian Cardinal George Pell, now a top adviser to Pope Francis, testified in a landmark clergy sex abuse inquiry that the Catholic Church made “enormous mistakes” in trying to deal with the scandal.

Speaking to an Australian commission investigating the church’s response to abuse, Pell — who had previously been archbishop in Sydney — also said that during the 1970s he was “very strongly inclined to accept the denial” of a priest accused of abuse.

The 74-year-old Pell, who serves as the Vatican’s finance chief, appeared before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse late Sunday (Feb. 28) via video link from a Rome hotel because he said a heart condition prevented him from traveling.

As he rose through the ranks of the Australian church, Pell recalled that numerous allegations “certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances.”

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