Cardinal Pell’s late night of tough questions

BBC News

By James Reynolds
BBC News, Rome

When Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell delivered his long-awaited testimony to an Australian government inquiry into child sex abuse, the BBC’s Rome correspondent James Reynolds was in the room.

Cardinal George Pell entered the hotel ballroom one minute before the scheduled starting time of 22:00 (21:00 GTM). He walked with a slight stoop to a table set up next to a video screen.

One-hundred-and-fifty people gathered to watch him give evidence. Two Vatican security guards sat discreetly on the aisles near the front.

More than a dozen victims of abuse from Australia were also in the audience. They’d raised the money to fly here to Rome. Some wore red T-shirts printed with the words “No More Silence”.

Technicians dimmed one of the room’s chandeliers and opened the video link with the Royal Commission in Australia. The opening questions were easy.

“Are you the number three in the Vatican?” the counsel asked.

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