Confronting Their Shame

Herald Sun

July 9, 2008,21985,23990106-24218,00.html

POPE Benedict XVI arrives in Australia on Sunday to start his week-long visit for World Youth Day, but this celebration of youth must carry with it an apology.

The Pope must express the church's deepest regret to the young people abused by the Catholic clergy in Australia.

Cardinal George Pell, the head of the Catholic Church in Australia, says the Pope is likely to offer an apology similar to the one he made to victims of abuse in the United States earlier this year.

The Pope had "handled" the apology well in the US, said Cardinal Pell, who became Archbishop of Sydney after serving as Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop.

However, the same can't be said of Cardinal Pell's own dealings with victims of sexual abuse in Australia. To say he "mishandled" the matter of conflicting letters to two of these victims would be a better description.

Cardinal Pell has added to the concern over his actions with a confused explanation. He says a letter he wrote was "badly worded and a mistake."

While an apology from the Pope is long overdue, Cardinal Pell has failed to set matters to rest in his own archdiocese.

And it is not only Catholic clergy who have abused those in their care. One of those calling for an apology from the Pope is the Anglican Primate in Australia.

Archbishop Phillip Aspinall apologised on behalf of his church to a woman who was abused as a teenager by an Anglican priest.

This led to the resignation of Archbishop Peter Hollingworth as governor-general of Australia after he suggested the young victim was also to blame.

But now it is the Pope's turn to ask forgiveness and for Cardinal Pell to join him.


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