Pell legal threat not surprising: Saunders

Daily Mail
June 1, 2015

An outspoken member of Pope Francis's child protection commission says he is not surprised George Pell is threatening him with legal action.

However, child abuse survivor Peter Saunders insists he will not shut up for anyone.

Mr Saunders has called on the Pope to "move aside" Cardinal Pell from his role as financial chief at the Vatican over claims he helped cover up pedophile activity in Australia.

Cardinal Pell, who denies the allegations, responded with a statement in which he says he has been left with no alternative but to "consult with his legal advisers".

Mr Saunders said that was "very unfortunate, very sad and very unChristian".

"The church, including the church in Australia, has a long history of spending an enormous amount of money on defending perpetrator priests and other clerics, so it doesn't surprise me in the least that Cardinal Pell is resorting to using the massive resources of the Vatican to essentially consider threatening me in some way," Mr Saunders told AAP on Monday.

The 58-year-old stressed he was speaking as a survivor and founder of Britain's National Association for People Abused in Childhood - not in his capacity as a commissioner.

Mr Saunders acknowledged his fellow commissioners would probably have been "put out" by him speaking publicly about Cardinal Pell as they were not supposed to comment on individual cases.

"But I am not going to shut up for anybody when it comes to speaking out about such important issues," he said.

"If my place on the commission is jeopardised because I wish to speak my truth, then so be it.

"This is about the protection of the most vulnerable people on the planet - which is our children."

Mr Saunders said ultimately he had "every faith" that Pope Francis would take whatever action was necessary to make sure the commission was able to do its vital work.

"I have the highest regard for Pope Francis," he said.



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