Cardinal George Pell: Painfully and Woefully Inadequate
- Pell blames “the media” for “25 years of hostility”
- Pell accused of a “sociopathic lack of empathy”
Australia’s Top Tim Cardinal George Pell today fronted the Royal Commission’s enquiry into child sex abuse.
Cardinal George Pell told the inquiry he was “fully apologetic and absolutely sorry” for decades of child sex abuse within the Church.
Some members of the packed public gallery wept as Cardinal Pell was forced to answer questions about the Church’s systemic cover-up of cases of rape of children as young as five-years old.
Despite decades of evidence including the account of one abuse survivor who was anally raped as an eight year old ten times and left bleeding and bruised Cardinal Pell appeared unmoved.
At one point, he attempted to position the Catholic Church as “the victim” saying “we’ve had 25 years of intermittent hostility from the press.”
In a perfunctory performance which can only be described as woefully inadequate, Pell defended the Catholic Church’s handling of allegations of abuse, its treatment of victims and defence of sex criminals within its ranks, saying it had “no moral obligation” to pay abuse victims substantial compensation.
Pell said that while there have been some cases of cover-ups, the main problem is that many within the Church did not talk about the problem of child sex abuse because “they were not gossips”.
“I think many persons in the leadership of the Church, I don’t think they knew what a horrendous widespread [issue] we were sitting on,” he said.
“Many of the victims aren’t particularly interested in money. The more important thing is due process, justice, and help with getting on with their lives,” he said.
Cardinal Pell was pressed over the way he personally dealt with cases of abuse, in particularly that of the Foster family, whose two daughters were repeatedly raped by Melbourne priest Kevin O’Donnell from when they were as young as five years old.
One of the daughters died of a medication overdose in 2008 at the age of 26, while the other daughter became a binge drinker and is now mentally and physically disabled.
The father, Anthony Foster, has said that when he met with Cardinal Pell to air his concerns, he showed a “sociopathic lack of empathy” towards the case of his daughters.
Cardinal Pell called the meeting “unfortunate”.
“The Church paid out $100,000 for counselling for the Fosters, and that was money well spent,” Cardinal Pell said.
In the United States, Church abuse victims typically receive about $1 million in compensation but Cardinal Pell says the huge differences between the US and Australia is because America is a society where they pay a much higher rate.
When asked if he thought $75,000 was an appropriate sum for people who had been anally and orally raped by priests when they were children, Cardinal Pell says the Church pays what the Government recommends.
The catholic church made in $16.2 billion in Australia last year alone. Tax free.