George Pell Has "Dealt with Those Issues', PM Says

Financial Review
May 21, 2015

The PM says the statement that Cardinal Pell released responding to the allegations "has dealt with those issues". Alessandra Tarantino, AP

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined to endorse calls for Cardinal George Pell to return from Rome and answer allegations about his covering up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, saying that was a decision for the cardinal to make.

Mr Abbott, who is close to Cardinal Pell, said it was not for him to say what Australia's most senior Catholic should do, following allegations being made by victims to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

"Look, these are properly matters for the royal commission, properly matters for the royal commission and for him," Mr Abbott said.

He said the statement that Cardinal Pell released overnight on Wednesday responding to the allegations "has dealt with those issues" and whether he chose to appear was "ultimately a matter for him".

But Mr Abbott's stance did nothing to quell calls from victims for Cardinal Pell to appear in person and defend himself against allegations concerning a church paedophile ring which operated in the Ballarat Diocese.

This week, David Ridsdale told the royal commission hearing that in 1993, he told Cardinal Pell of being abused and in response was asked what it would take to keep him quiet. Another victim, Timothy Green, said Cardinal Pell dismissed his concerns and walked out of the room after he complained of being abused in 1974.

More victims made similar claims on Thursday.

Cardinal Pell has strongly denied the accounts.








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