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Cardinal Pell sets up meeting with abuse victims, as critics call for resignation

March 02, 2016

Cardinal George Pell has arranged to meet privately with sex-abuse victims on Thursday, March 3, as he continues to testify before an Australian royal commission investigating the abuse scandal.

The cardinal's office announced that victims who have asked for a private meeting will be contacted about the timing of the meeting, which will be held at Rome's Hotel Quirinale-- the same site where the cardinal is testifying by videolink for the Australian panel.

"Cardinal Pell hopes that these meetings will be helpful and contribute to healing, and he is happy to meet survivors either individually or in small groups," his office said. The statement added that the cardinal was willing to try to arrange for the victims to meet with Pope Francis as well. The invitation allowed for victims to bring "a person to support them," but excluded media or legal representatives.

The cardinal's offer came as Australian critics escalated their campaign against him, with the Sydney Morning Herald issuing an editorial that demanded his resignation. "Pell has no credibility as a moral leader," the paper argued. 

Cardinal Pell's standing took a damaging blow when Andrew Bolt, an columnist who has consistently defended him, said that the cardinal's latest testimony before the investigative panel was "very damning." Bolt-- who had already won an exclusive right to interview Cardinal Pell on March 4-- said that if the cardinal was telling the truth about not being interested in the details of the Ridsdale case, he was "dangerously indifferent" to the problem. "I just think those (words) will be hung around his neck for the rest of his career," he said. 


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  • Posted by: mhains8491 - Mar. 02, 2016 6:37 PM ET USA

    Andrew Bolt has already apologised for these words. Saying he got caught up in the lynch mob. The Cardinal was quoted out of context, a common media stunt. They make up the misqoute and then condemn him. The author of the Guardian article is David Marr, a militant homosexual with a long record of attacking the Church. The Sydney Morning Herald is noted its militant homosexual agenda and its hatred of the Catholic Church in general and Cardinal Pell in particular.