by CLAUDIO LAVANGA and ALASTAIR JAMIESON
ROME — Vatican treasurer George Pell admitted Sunday that the Roman Catholic Church had “mucked things up” as he became the highest-ranking church official to testify on sexual abuse.
Giving evidence in front of abuse victims, the Australian cardinal said the organization reflected society as a whole and there was a “tendency to evil in the Catholic Church, too.”
He held up a bible as he took the oath in a Rome hotel room where he began to give evidence by video link to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.
Pell was expected to clarify whether he knew that a number of priests were abusing children in the diocese near Melbourne where he served as a senior priest and vicar between 1973 and 1983. Among them was Australia’s most notorious pedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, with whom Pell shared a house and who has been convicted for abusing more than 50 children over three decades.
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