Pell: The Vatican ‘mucked things up’ on sexual abuse


By Inés San Martín
Vatican correspondent February 29, 2016

ROME — One of the Vatican’s most senior officials admitted that the Catholic Church “has made enormous mistakes” in allowing children to be sexually abused by priests, as he testified via video link to a Royal Commission in Australia investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Australian Cardinal George Pell also admitted that he often believed priests over alleged victims who came forward: “I must say in those days, if a priest denied such activity, I was very strongly inclined to accept the denial.”

“I’m not here to defend the indefensible,” Pell said at the beginning of a grueling four-hour hearing late Sunday night via video from a Rome hotel. In order to be take place in the morning in Australia, Pell has agreed to appear beginning at 10 p.m. Rome time and continue until roughly 2 a.m. each day. The hearing is expected to last three or four days.

“The Church has made enormous mistakes, but is working to remedy them,” he said. “In many places, the Church certainly has mucked things up, has let people down.”

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