Child abuse royal commission: Melbourne Archbishop defends George Pell, but admits bishops ‘did not do enough’ to remove abusive priests


Child abuse royal commission: Melbourne Archbishop defends George Pell, but admits bishops ‘did not do enough’ to remove abusive priests

By Danny Morgan
November 30,2015
From the Link: Child abuse royal commission: Melbourne Archbishop defends George Pell, but admits bishops ‘did not do enough’ to remove abusive priests

Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne has defended his predecessor, Cardinal George Pell, against allegations he did not properly follow up child sexual abuse complaints against priests.

Denis Hart has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that during the 1980s and early 1990s senior bishops did not do enough to convince Archbishop Frank Little to remove priests who were molesting children.

Archbishop Hart said it was a complete failure of process on the part of the bishops.

“So that includes Archbishop, now Cardinal, Pell?” he was asked by counsel assisting, Gail Furness SC.

Archbishop Hart replied: “I would exclude him.”

The commission had earlier heard Cardinal Pell, as an auxiliary bishop based in Melbourne in 1989, received complaints about paedophile priest Peter Searson.

Archbishop Hart was questioned on whether Cardinal Pell had done enough to follow them up.

“It’s the case isn’t it that the Auxiliary Bishop was part of a complete failure of process?” Ms Furness asked.

Archbishop Hart said: “He’d have to explain what he did and didn’t know.”

Archbishop Frank Little

Archbishop Frank Little

At one point the Archbishop was challenged on why he had not referred to a series of documents relating to Cardinal Pell’s conduct in his statement to the commission.

Ms Furness: Why aren’t they referred to in your statement?

Archbishop Hart: I’d say that’s just an omission, that’s all.

Ms Furness: A deliberate one?

Archbishop Hart: No

Ms Furness: Inadvertent?

Archbishop Hart: Inadvertent yes.

More women within church ‘might have prevented damage’

During his evidence, Archbishop Hart acknowledged having more women in senior positions within the church might have prevented the damaged caused by paedophile priests.

The commission was told just two of the 31 Catholic archdiocese in Australia have women in senior administrative positions.

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

Archbishop Hart said while the numbers were low, the advice of women was increasing sought by senior church officials.

“The movement may be glacial, but it is movement,” he told the hearing.

The Archbishop also acknowledged criticism the Vatican tried to minimise the risk of scandal to the church by initiating a lengthy and complicated process to remove people from the priesthood.

“I would certainly respect that criticism. I know that the people I have been in contact with don’t have that view, but I think it’s a valid criticism,” Archbishop Hart said.

“I would hope that replies from Rome would come more quickly because you’ve got a situation where you’ve stood a priest aside, there is a whole important question of protection of people, and you don’t like to leave it in suspended animation.”

Cardinal Pell is due to give evidence before the commission in mid-December.

About victimsofrapebythercc

The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.

Posted on January 18, 2016, in Archbishop Denis Hart, Archbishop Frank Little, Cardinal George Pell, Child Sex Abuse, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Father Peter Searson, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Melbourne and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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