Pell says Church should not be blamed for priests’ abuse

Cardinal George Pell has sparked outrage with comments that the Church should not be held responsible for crimes committed by priests.

Last week, Cardinal Pell used a “trucking company” analogy before Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Speaking by video link from Rome, the Cardinal likened the Church to a trucking company that refuses to take responsibility for a driver who molested women.

“It would not be appropriate, because it’s contrary to the policy, for the ownership, leadership of that company to be held responsible,” Cardinal Pell told commissioners.

“Similarly with the Church and the head of any other organisation.

“It is, I think, not appropriate for legal culpability to be foisted on the authority figure.”

Victims’ groups were quick to condemn the remarks.

Adults Surviving Child Abuse president Cathy Kezelman called his comments “outrageous”, and said they denied the experience of victims.

Nicky Davis, from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told ABC radio that Cardinal Pell had made a “highly offensive” comparison.

“He shows that he really has absolutely no conception of what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour and what are appropriate or inappropriate things to say to survivors,” she said.

Cardinal Pell also expressed support for the Vatican’s refusal earlier this year to turn over documents requested by royal commission about every abuse case Rome had dealt with in Australia.

These had been requested by chairman Justice Peter McClellan.

Describing these documents as the internal workings of another sovereign state, Cardinal Pell said the Church has provided 5000 pages of documents, which he deemed sufficient.

Cardinal Pell also outraged victims by saying he hadn’t been following the royal commission, because he had been busy in Rome.

This brought forth audible gasps from victims watching his evidence.

The cardinal was made the Vatican’s first economic prefect by Pope Francis earlier this year.

The commission is looking at the Melbourne Response for abuse victims, set up by Pell in 1996.

The approach has been criticised for its cap on compensation and for discouraging victims from going to police.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,