A WARRNAMBOOL priest says the High Court's decision to quash Cardinal George Pell's historical child sexual abuse conviction will do nothing to calm the hurt felt by some in the community.
Cardinal Pell walked free from Barwon Prison on Tuesday after the court unanimously found Pell's conviction for child sex abuse should be overturned.
St Joseph's Parish priest Father John Fitzgerald said many people still felt betrayed and hurt by the child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
He said the High Court's decision wouldn't calm the hurt but instead was likely to trigger more anger. He said the church must continue to acknowledge the wrongdoing and say sorry.
Paul Levey, who was subjected to daily abuse by pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale at the Mortlake presbytery when he was a teenager, said the whole survivor community would be gutted.
Mr Levey said the decision may put off other child sexual abuse victims from coming forward. "It's a David and Goliath battle," he said. "We can't afford the barristers and QCs."
Ballarat Diocese Bishop Paul Bird said in a statement that the outcome on the historical child sexual abuse charges was the culmination of many months of uncertainty. "The whole process of trials and appeals has been distressing, most immediately for those directly involved in the court proceedings, but also for others in the community, including victims and survivors of abuse and their families," he said.
"There has been a special impact on those of us who live in Ballarat and in our Ballarat Diocese more broadly because of Cardinal Pell's early connections with this city and our diocese.
"The case has divided opinion in legal circles and in the general community. Now that the highest court in the land has given a judgement, I hope this will bring some sense of resolution to all those affected by the proceedings."
- If you or anyone you know needs support, South West Centre Against Sexual Assault on 5564 4144 or Lifeline 131 114.