Anger mounts among child abuse advocates as George Pell cast as a ‘saint’

Saint Pell No Way!

Title: Anger mounts among child abuse advocates as George Pell cast as a ‘saint’

Author: Lucie Morris-Marr

Publisher: The New Daily
Date: 11JAN2023

In death, as it has been for much of his life and career, it’s clear former Catholic power player George Pell will be trailed by a cloud of scandal.

Leading child abuse advocates have spoken to The New Daily of their “deep hurt and anger” over Ballarat-born Cardinal Pell being hailed as a “saint” following his sudden death in Rome.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has been accused of “denying the truth” after eulogising about the former Vatican treasurer in glowing terms.

After the news broke in Rome early on Wednesday morning that the 81-year-old had died following complications from hip surgery, Mr Abbott spoke of his late, close friend as “a fine man wrestling with a cruel fate”.

Mr Abbott said Cardinal Pell’s conviction in late 2018 for historic child sexual abuse, which resulted in a prison term before he was freed after a High Court appeal, was a “modern form of crucifixion”.

“In his own way, after dealing so equably with a monstrous allegation, he strikes me as a saint for our times,” he stated.

‘I’m appalled, quite frankly’

Advocate Chrissie Foster, who met Cardinal Pell after two of her three daughters were abused by a Catholic priest in Melbourne, told TND Mr Abbott’s comments were “hugely triggering and upsetting”.

“I’m appalled, quite frankly,” Ms Foster said.

“Suggesting he should be seen as a saint is so opposite to what should be happening.

“When you know the truth and you’ve travelled that road and someone pulls that out of thin air and is not taking in everything that has gone on – it’s just trampling on victims’ feelings and reality.”

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