Sexual abuse victims know the truth. George Pell allowed lives to be destroyed to protect himself and the Catholic church

Chrissie Foster George Pell

Title: Sexual abuse victims know the truth. George Pell allowed lives to be destroyed to protect himself and the Catholic church
Author: Chrissie Foster
Publisher: The Guardian
Date: 16JAN2023
Suppression of the truth comes from the Catholic church’s canon law. There is no exposing of hierarchy.

To be a sexual assault victim of Catholic clergy is to know the truth – the truth of your own experience. That truth, long suppressed by victim, perpetrator and organisation alike is what keeps the crime of paedophilia alive. Children are easily intimidated and silenced. Paedophilic crimes thrived among Catholic clergy.

Suppression of the truth comes from the church’s canon law 489 which orders every bishop of a diocese and archbishop of an archdiocese, to maintain and keep under lock and key a secret archive of clergy criminal cases. This means that everyone from the pope down to the bishop in your local diocese maintains such files. Canon laws must be obeyed by clergy.

When an offender is moved to a new parish and new offences occur against more children, that bishop or archbishop who knew of past crimes, yet transferred them anyway, instead of reporting them to police, is responsible for those new sexual assaults. There is no exposing of hierarchy by other hierarchy because they are all compromised.

When it comes to child sexual abuse, Cardinal Pell’s own words betrayed him. During the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse’s hearing in Rome, when asked if he knew Gerald Ridsdale’s offending against childrenwas commonly known in the parish, Pell responded that he didn’t know. He then added: “It’s a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me.”

Another response from Pell in Rome regarded a complaint he received from a college student about allegations of sexual assault by Edward Dowlan against younger boys at the school. When Pell was asked by the commission if he passed on the allegations to school staff, Pell said he hadn’t. Pell agreed that he should have done more “… with the experience of 40 years later”. The commission asked: “Wasn’t it a serious matter then?”. Pell replied: “Yes, but people had a different attitude then. There were no specifics about the activity, how serious it was, and the boy wasn’t asking me to do anything about it, but just lamenting and mentioning it.”

Perhaps before people speak of Cardinal Pell’s greatness and saintliness, they should also read the unredacted sections of the final reports on child abuse from the royal commission case study nos. 28 (Ballarat Diocese) and 35 (Melbourne Archdiocese) which were withheld from publication to allow Cardinal Pell a fair trial.

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