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Cardinal Pell: abuse victims should be allowed to sue dioceses in Australia

March 10, 2014

Cardinal George Pell has reportedly said that sex-abuse victims should be allowed to sue the Catholic Church, in an apparent change.

Abuse victims have never successfully brought suit against Catholic dioceses in Australia, because of court rulings that the Church is not organized in that country as a legal entity that can be sued. On that basis, lawyers for the Church have argued energetically against efforts to bring suit against the diocese.

But Cardinal Pell—who headed the Sydney archdiocese, until his recent appointment as prefect of the newly created Vatican Secretariat for the Economy—told a royal commission that in his view, victims should have the right to sue. “Whatever position was taken by the lawyers during the litigation,” he said, suits should be possible.

Cardinal Pell is due to appear before the royal commission next week.


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  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Mar. 11, 2014 8:40 AM ET USA

    Is Cardinal Pell really suggesting that the innocent should be punished along with the guilty? If a bank's employee stole money from Pell's account, would he really want the entire personnel of the bank to be jailed because of one man's crime? I think his eminence should withdraw this silly proposal immediately, and allow only those diocesan officials who are reasonably suspected of abuse to be prosecuted, not the entire staff or laity of the diocese. We cannot have such a situation as that.