Cardinal of the Curia George Pell, on the third day of his questioning by the Australian Abuse Commission, has again accused superiors and staff of a cover-up.
The school board of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, as well as the bishop of his then-home diocese of Ballarat, had not informed him of abuse allegations because they "knew I would have acted if they had," the prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy said Wednesday night in video questioning by the abuse commission, according to media reports. "They clearly realized I was cut from a different cloth." In consideration of his health, the 74-year-old cardinal may make his statement via video link from Rome.
Accusation of cover-up to Cardinal Pell
Abuse victims accuse Pell of covering up sexual assaults and covering up perpetrators. The cardinal acknowledged "enormous mistakes" by the church in dealing with abuse cases during the first two days of questioning, which was scheduled to last a total of three days. Already in the first two days he also burdened his former superior. The then Bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns, had misled him about the real reasons for the transfer of an abusive priest.
Abuse cases in the 1970s and 1980s
The inquiry centers on the cover-up of abuse cases in the Ballarat diocese in the 1970s and 1980s, where Pell was a priest and episcopal vicar for education. The Australian Abuse Commission was set up in 2013 by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard to investigate how churches, religious communities and secular institutions deal with cases of abuse. Final report expected in December 2017.