Cardinal Truths Saturday Paper
Title: Editorial: Cardinal truths
Edition No: 300
Publisher: The Saturday Paper
Date: May 9-15, 2020
He knew. When he walked into Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in 1993 beside Gerald Ridsdale, a man facing dozens of counts of indecent assault against boys, George Pell knew the priest had been abusing children in the church.
According to redacted findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he had known it for more than a decade.
In the early ’70s, he knew Ridsdale, a fellow priest in Ballarat, was taking boys on overnight camping trips. He thought it unusual.
He considered whether this was prudent, because of “the possibility that if priests were one on one with a child then they could sexually abuse a child or at least provoke gossip about such a prospect”.
The future cardinal was aware of child sexual abuse within the church, but “he also had considered measures of avoiding situations which might provoke gossip about it”.
For years, Pell has said that a senior priest, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, lied to himself and other consultors about why Ridsdale needed to be moved. The royal commission found this was implausible: “It is inconceivable in these circumstances that Bishop Mulkearns deceived his consultors by not telling them the true reason.”
With Pell’s own appeal against historical child abuse charges upheld by the High Court, these sections of the commission’s report, long redacted, have now been published.
The image revealed is disturbing.
For more information visit: https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/editorial/2020/05/09/cardinal-truths/15889464009802