Counsel assisting the royal commission have fired both barrels into the heart of St Peter’s Basilica.
It seems odds-on that George Pell will be excoriated by the commission’s final report, which is a development that is not greatly surprising, given the direction of the questioning.
Those who have heard the commission evidence will know that Pell has been exposed on several fronts, substantively as a clergyman who held multiple senior roles after arriving in Melbourne in 1987, when he was promoted to auxiliary bishop.
Pell’s chief defence is that he played no major role in the affairs that unfolded in the Doveton parish and he was not a senior church decision-maker at the time.
More broadly, he was even more junior when working in the crime-stricken diocese of Ballarat.
The big-picture problem for Pell, the Pope and the church in Australia is how much damage it is prepared to continue to wear in defending the nation’s most powerful Catholic.
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