‘i Am Deeply Committed to Helping the Survivors’: Cardinal George Pell Finally Agrees to Give Evidence at Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse

By Lucy Thackray And John Carney
Daily Mail
May 26, 2015

Cardinal George Pell has told the chair of the royal commission he's prepared to give evidence in person 'if needed'.

'I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally,' he said in the letter to Justice Peter McClellan on Tuesday night.

He also said he'd been horrified by the allegations of abuse in Ballarat and was 'deeply saddened' by the way church authorities dealt with reports of abuse.

Abuse victims have given evidence Pell bribed them to keep quiet, ignored complaints and was complicit in moving Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to a different parish.

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Cardinal George Pell has told the chair of the royal commission he's prepared to give evidence in person 'if needed'

They repeatedly called on him to return to Australia to face the royal commission.

In the letter, Pell says he has not yet been asked to give evidence in any form.

'But as I have said repeatedly, I am deeply committed to assisting the Royal Commission and to doing anything I can to help survivors,' he said.

'This includes giving evidence in person, if asked to do so'.

Cardinal Pell has not appeared at this week's Royal Commission, but he recently visited one of the schools where some of the worst abuse took place.

In March, Cardinal Pell visited his old school where he used to say mass daily, St Patrick's College in Ballarat; a decision which angered the commission's first witness.

Phillip Nagle was the first witness to appear last week at the opening of the commission into a paedophile ring involving Catholic clergy in Ballarat in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

Philip Nagle was the first witness to appear last week at the opening of the Royal Commission

During his evidence he produced a photograph of his 1973 Grade 4 class at St Alipius' Christian Brothers School in Ballarat. He claims that 12 out of 33 pupils that appeared in it were dead after committing suicide because of the child abuse they endured.

'It shows the calibre of the man doesn't it - absolutely gutless. To go to St Patrick's College instead of appearing at the commission is unbelievable,' Mr Nagle told Daily Mail Australia.

The school was named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse inquiry as one of the places where the worst sexual and physical abuse to schoolboys occurred in the 1970s and '80s.

The Herald Sun reports that a full-page feature in a college magazine detailed the Cardinal's visit.

'Cardinal Pell has long been a strong and passionate advocate of St Patrick's College and remains close friends with many of his former classmates from his time as a student here,' new principal John Crowley said in the article.

'It was a great thrill to be able to escort His Eminence around the College grounds and witness the way he interacted with staff and students alike.'

Philip Nagle (circled) claims 12 out of the 33 of pupils in the photograph went on to commit suicide because of the sexual abuse that took place at the school

'St Patrick's College is where one of the worst sex offenders taught - Edward Dowlan. It also housed all the monsters who went to jail for sex and physical abuse to schoolboys that went to Catholic schools there.

'I'm blown away that Cardinal Pell should do something like this. I'm amazed he'd go there just before the royal commission started. Amazing.

'It's pretty poor form. It just shows how much they (the Catholic Church) have to hide.'

A petition demanding that Cardinal Nagle returns to appear at the Royal Commission now has 73,000 supporters

An online petition started on petitioning Pope Francis to send Cardinal Pell back to Australia upped the pressure further on him to leave The Vatican, where he oversees the Catholic Church's finances, and return to face the commission.

The petition received 2,212 signatures in 48 hours has so far got 73,000 supporters demanding that he returns.








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