Retired Catholic bishop slams Cardinal George Pell over abuse

By Gina Rushton
August 24, 2015

A retired Catholic bishop has slammed Cardinal George Pell and the Vatican for impeding the church’s ability to adopt a “profound and enduring” approach to victims abused by clergy.

“Some popes gave out the wrong message,” outspoken Bishop Geoffrey Robinson told the child abuse royal commission in Sydney. Oh, and some archbishops.”

In the early 1990s, Pope John Paul II should have pledged there was “no place” for sex abusers in the church but instead “silence”was the default response, Bishop Robinson said.

“It didn’t fit into (John Paul’s) image of the church,” he said. “Real leadership like that from the Pope would have been marvellous and from subsequent popes ... we still haven’t had that kind of leadership, not even from (Pope) Francis.”

The former Sydney auxiliary bishop said Cardinal Pell undermined unanimity across the clergy by dropping a “bombshell” in 1996 and announcing Melbourne would release its own protocol for responding to complaints despite having participated in a decade of work for a comprehensive countrywide approach.

“(Pell) would later claim that this meant he was the first person in Australia to have such a protocol,” he said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.