|Archbishop Statue at Gympie Qld.|
Cardinal George Pell who now resides in Rome at the Vatican was asked to attend the Commission here in Australia but he sited medical issues as a reason to not return from Rome. The Royal Commission wished to question him about what he knew about the worst child pedophilia so far reported in Australia in his Ballarat Diocese in Victoria.
Between 1953 and 1983 a number of students who attended St Patrick's College and St Alipius Boys' School, administered by St Patrick's College, made allegations that they were sexually assaulted. Some of these cases were litigated and the offenders found guilty. In 2002, Gerald Ridsdale, who served as the school chaplain at St Alipius' during this period, was convicted of a number of child sexual offences. In addition, three Christian Brothers who taught at St Alipius Boys' School and at St Patrick's College in the early 1970s were subsequently convicted of child sexual offences related to activities at the two schools. Victoria Police reported in July 2011 that close to 30 of the students who were abused at St Alipius have subsequently committed suicide.
One draws a deep breath thinking this is the Church we are discussing here. The Church was such a trusted institution and a powerful institution in the community and this is how this sickness of abuse flourished. It is because of archaic roman ways of doing things. One could safely call it the dark ages in Ballarat Australia. George Pell is being questioned because there is overwhelming evidence against him that he ignored any pleas for help.
|George Pell testifying in Rome on my Television. |
*Note the Christ Scandal on the shelf below.
The Cardinal read from the evidence and the questioning began. Counsel for the Commission, Gail Furness SC questioned him at great length about particular instances beginning around 1972 when he entered the priesthood as an ordained priest in the Ballarat Diocese.
A few hours of grueling questioning and the Cardinal was looking like a narcissistic mongrel who had no problems in deflecting all blame onto either Bishop O'Collins, Bishop Mulkearns and Monsignor Fiskalini. If he wasn't deflecting, he was not recalling and continually resorted to saying I have no recollection.
The media flashed these erroneous statements the Cardinal made during his response to the evidence because it was gob smacking to hear him speak so heartlessly for a so called Cardinal. He said, "It was of little interest to him". He ignored complaints by a student who petitioned him personally to intervene because his brother had been beaten and sexually abused by Father Dowlan.
In another startling fact that has come to light to the rest of the world is that this diocese had several pedophile priests working together and that these priests regularly assaulted the same groups of boys so their names were obviously passed around. Fear is a terrible weapon to use on any child - those priests were not men, they were very sick individuals.
The Royal Commission will be questioning the Cardinal continually over the next three days totaling four grueling days of questioning when this is finished.
The Survivors who traveled to Rome to sit in front of the Cardinal as he gave his evidence assembled outside of the Hotel after today's evidence was given for a media interview. Everything they said brought me to absolute tears. I was almost feeling like I was standing next to them there in Rome.
This is a chance for all of the survivors of abuse that have come forward to the Commission to have a voice and to at least be able to tell someone what happened and once again the survivors urged anyone who was yet to come forward to please make that contact with the Commissioner and give their evidence. More tomorrow on Cardinal Pell.
From the ABC
Key points from Cardinal Pell's evidence today
- Cardinal Pell denied knowing about paedophile priests in the Ballarat diocese when he was a priest and then as an adviser to Bishop Mulkearns in the 1970s and early 80s
- He criticised Bishop Mulkearns for the way paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was moved from parish to parish, saying it was a "catastrophe" for the victims and for the church
- Cardinal Pell told the royal commission he had no knowledge of Ridsdale's offences at the time
- He also told the hearing the Catholic Church had made enormous mistakes in the past and he was "not here to defend the indefensible"
- Cardinal Pell denied knowing anything about the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Mildura priest Monsignor John Day, who was accused of widespread misconduct with children over 13 years
- He admitted "in light of what we know now", the fact that Monsignor Day was appointed a parish priest in Timboon a year after his resignation was "quite unacceptable"
- In relation to allegations made against a number of Christian Brothers, Cardinal Pell said he knew about "eccentricities" relating to Brother Fitzgerald and about "fleeting references" to Brother Dowlan, but he did not know about the graphic sexual nature of many of the allegations
- With regards to evidence presented to the Cardinal during the session, he conceded there appeared to be a "significant number" of people around Ballarat East who knew about the sexual offending of a number of Brothers during the 1970s
- Cardinal Pell will continue his evidence at 8am AEDT on Tuesday
Images @ Eminpee Fotography