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Australian Catholic Weekly report deflates allegations against Cardinal Pell

December 18, 2015

In an exhaustive report for Australia’s Catholic Weekly, Monica Doumit clears up several popular misconceptions about the role of Cardinal George Pell in the sex-abuse crisis, and the cardinal’s responses to a royal investigation commission.

Cardinal Pell did not seek to postpone his appearance before the royal commission, Doumit emphasizes. When he disclosed that a medical condition would prevent him from flying to Australia to testify in person, the cardinal offered to provide his testimony on schedule by a video link. The commission’s chairman declined that offer.

Moreover, it is unlikely that Cardinal Pell’s testimony will offer any dramatic new insights, Doumit writes: “There is sufficient evidence already publicly available which provides us with a very clear and comprehensive picture of the response to the allegations made against the cardinal.”

One recent allegation, highly publicized in the Australian media, is that Cardinal Pell was overheard talking to another priest about a pedophile cleric. But that conversation almost certainly did not take place, because Pell and the other priest were in different towns at the time the witness claims to have overheard their discussion.

Similarly, a claim that the future cardinal tried to bribe an abuse victim not to report a priest’s misconduct is also questionable, since at the time of his conversation with the victim, Pell knew that the police were already investigating the molester.

 


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