Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service February 29, 2016
ROME – Australian Cardinal George Pell met with Pope Francis on Monday, one day after he 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, now a top adviser to the pope, testified Sunday that during the 1970s he was “very strongly inclined to accept the denial” of a priest accused of abuse. He has previously been archbishop in Sydney.
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 via video link from a Rome hotel because he said a heart condition prevented him from traveling.
The decision to allow Pell to testify via video has been strongly criticized by abuse victims, and a crowdfunding effort in Australia enabled 15 of them to travel to Italy to be present in the hotel conference room with Pell.
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