Cardinal George Pell trial ruling welcomed by survivors’ rights group

The Guardian (UK)

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome

1 May 2018

A survivors’ rights group has hailed as a “turning point” an Australian magistrate’s ruling that Cardinal George Pell, one of the most senior officials in the Vatican, will stand trial on historical sexual offence charges.

The decision by Belinda Wallington comes as the church in Rome continues to be dogged by accusations that it has failed to do enough to come to grips with a sexual abuse crisis.

For some advocates, the development in Melbourne was a rare victory for secular law, after decades in which the church has handled priests and senior clergy accused of sexual abuse within the Vatican’s own judicial system.

“[The] decision today … marks a turning point in the global abuse crisis in the Catholic church,” said a statement by, which tracks cases of alleged abuse. “The Australian government has put the Catholic church on equal footing with other institutions, and treated its leaders as fellow citizens.”

In Rome, the question now is whether Pope Francis is prepared to take tougher action against accused priests, as well as the bishops who have been accused of protecting them.

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