Whoa, my twitter feed is on fire with all these angry Australians. It seems Cardinal George Pell is getting grilled about child abuse within the Australian Catholic Church, and he’s being his usual callous, dogmatic self. “Some of the victims themselves aren’t entirely blameless,” indeed.
The Age has an article summarizing the inquiry so far, but it’s rather tepid compared to the outrage I’m seeing expressed by the Australians listening in. It’s clear that Pell has admitted there was abuse of children, and also that there was a cover-up; he also had lots of excuses.
“I would agree that we’ve been slow to address the anguish of the victims and dealt with it very imperfectly,” he told the inquiry.
“I think a big factor in this was not simply to defend the name of the church.
“Many in the church did not understand just what damage was being done to the victims. We understand that better now.”
Cardinal Pell said the sodomy of children was always regarded as totally reprehensible.
“If we’d been gossips, which we weren’t … we would have realised earlier just how widespread this business was,” Cardinal Pell said.
He admitted that lives had been ruined as a result of the cover-ups and that they had allowed pedophile priests to prey on children.
“I would have to say there is significant truth in that,” Cardinal Pell said.
He said he did not believe there had been a culture of abuse.
“I think the bigger fault was that nobody would talk about it, nobody would mention it.
“I was certainly unaware of it.
“I don’t think many, if any, persons in the leadership of the Catholic Church knew what a horrendous widespread mess we were sitting on.”
Cardinal Pell agreed that placing pedophiles above the law and moving them to other parishes resulted in more heinous crimes being committed.
“There’s no doubt about it that lives have been blighted.
“There’s no about it that these crimes have contributed to too many suicides.”
He also blamed lax standards for admission to the priesthood 50 years ago, something the pope babbled about a while back, too. Damned hippies!
But basically Pell got up and admitted that all the accusations were true and that he knew about it and that the only reason they didn’t do anything about it was that they didn’t realize how widespread the problem was. I want to know how big it had to be before they would have cracked down: I would have thought ONE child raped by a priest would have been sufficient to trigger a response, but apparently Pell didn’t think it important until it hit some other magic number.
If you’d like to see some real rage against the Catholic Church, follow #abuseinquiry on twitter.