It’s cowardly – Pell hasn’t been defrocked

Abuse survivor Tim Lennon says the Vatican should have been decisive after George Pell was convicted and immediately defrocked him.

However following the Victoria Supreme Court’s 2-1 ruling against Pell (78) last week, his legal team says it is considering a further appeal to Australia’s High Court.

The Vatican says it is waiting for Pell to make his final appeal before launching its own investigation. It noted that Pell has always maintained his innocence.

Massimo Faggioli, a professor of historical theology at Villanova University, a private Catholic institution, says Pell’s conviction has caused a divide between the conservative and liberal sides in the Church. By not interfering the Vatican is remaining neutral he says.

In contrast, Lennon, who is the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says the church should have been decisive following Pell’s conviction and immediately defrocked him.

“I don’t know what other proof any organization needs other than a conviction. Them saying ‘Well, let’s wait for the appeal,’ that’s sort of a cowardly way to approach someone who was convicted of sexual abuse and rape,” Lennon says.

Faggioli says he believes the Vatican’s handling of the Pell case shows it made a strategic decision to allow Pell to face secular justice – and that shows progress.

While the delay is frustrating, the Vatican accepts there is no possible fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church without secular justice. This is a huge step forward from where the Church was 15 years ago, he says.


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