Australia has not been immune to the worldwide acceptance of child sexual abuse by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. As everywhere, the Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals have been masters of passing the responsibility on to others. This is a skill they have learned at the feet of their masters in the Vatican.
For a recent look at what he has been saying since he was appointed Treasurer of the Vatican (an appointment that shields him from prosecution in Australia), here are a couple of articles:
In 2014 Pell threw his men – John Davoren, John Usher, and Michael Casey – to the wolves. What Campion observed back then is a now an established pattern. In responding to the Victorian parliamentary report into child sexual abuse in 2013, Pell sheeted home the blame to dead church officials: “By the standards of common decency and by today’s standards, church authorities were not only slow to deal with the abuse but sometimes did not deal with it in any appropriate way at all. This is indefensible.”
The wolves keep getting fed. They must be getting satiated by now. This week it was the Cardinal’s then-superior in Ballarat, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who Pell says lied to him in an act of “gross deception”. Then it was his fellow Ballarat consultors, or formal advisors to the bishop, who wilfully withheld details from him. Then it was the Catholic education office who lied to him about allegations against Father Searson. Then it was fellow curia members, monsignors, who didn’t tell him details of children’s complaints of inappropriate touching and reports of grotesque acts of cruelty and physical assaults even in meetings where they were discussing what to do about Searson. Then it was Archbishop Frank Little who deceived his auxiliary bishop Pell.
Over and over again, Pell gave evidence that it was others who failed to disclose the apparently crucial details he would have needed in order to act.
From Reuters on the same day
Pell was asked during an exchange this week about abuse by Ridsdale’s uncle, Gerald Ridsdale — who was later convicted of 138 offences against 53 victims — and said: “It’s a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me.” [He later claimed to have been confused when he made that statement]…
Pell told the inquiry that the Church had made “enormous mistakes” and “catastrophic” choices by refusing to believe abused children, shuffling abusive priests from parish to parish and over-relying on counseling of priests to solve the problem. [‘The Church’, not him]
He said he was deceived and lied to by superiors as a young priest in the 1970s.
I could go on and on, but I’m going to give Tim Minchin the last word on this.