EDITORIAL: THE arrogance of Cardinal George Pell knows no bounds.
His appearance at the royal commission into sex abuse on Thursday confirmed what many victims of horrific acts at the hands of Catholic clergy already knew, he cares very little about them.
Appearing at the commission, not in person but via a video link from the Vatican, Cardinal Pell likened the Catholic Church’s responsibility for child abuse to that of a trucking company whose driver had assaulted a hitchhiker.
The point he was making was that the leadership of the company — in this case the Catholic hierarchy — should not be held responsible.
Cardinal Pell was the architect of the so-called Melbourne Response when he was Archbishop of the Melbourne Diocese in the mid-1990s. It has been roundly criticised by victims’ groups over its limitations to compensation and its failure to condemn guilty priests.
Much anticipated, Cardinal Pell’s appearance before the commission on Thursday might have been an opportunity for him to show a softer, more human side. It might also have been a chance for him to offer a hint of atonement, regret or even sorrow for the crimes of the past.
Instead, the Cardinal chose to deepen the wounds of those who have suffered with a grossly inappropriate analogy delivered with an unsavoury air of utter conceit.
For the families and survivors of Catholic clergy abuse, Cardinal Pell’s performance was an incredibly insensitive and hurtful affront to victims from a man who just doesn’t seem to get it.
Cardinal Pell has let nothing detract from his pathway to power in the Vatican where he is Prefect for The Secretariat for The Economy, meaning he looks after the money.
Speaking from this high office in Rome on Thursday the Cardinal not only insulted victims of abuse, he dishonoured every practising Catholic who still has faith in their church and the teachings of Christ. It won’t have crossed his mind of course, but he should hang his head in shame.
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