RC finishes hearing evidence from Cardinal Pell in Rome
The Royal Commission heard evidence from Cardinal Pell for four days via video link from Rome from Monday to Thursday this week. The conclusion of the Cardinal's evidence marked the end of Case Study 35 about the Melbourne Archdiocese. Case Study 28 on the Ballarat Diocese will continue with further evidence from retired Ronald Mulkearns at a date to be determined.
The community and media interest in the Cardinal's evidence has been extensive with coverage of the hearing both here and internationally highlighting the failure of senior church officials in dealing with wide ranging and extensive child sexual abuse crimes.
Last night after Cardinal Pell finished giving evidence tot he Royal Commission he met Ballarat survivors, support people and officials. In a statement after the meeting he said it hard been 'an honest and occasionally emotional meeting' and that he is 'committed to working with' the survivors.
'I know many of their families and I know of the goodness of so many people in Catholic Ballarat; a goodness which is not extinguished by the evil that was done,' he said.
Survivors will also meet with representatives from the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors, established by the Pope in 2014. It is understood survivors have sought a meeting with Pope Francis, but it is unclear yet whether or not that will be possible.
This week has been a dreadful time for the Catholic Church in Australia.
The Royal Commission finished hearing evidence into the Melbourne Archdiocese and all but finished with the Ballarat Dioceses including the Christian Brothers. The hearings culminated with a marathon four-day evidence session from Cardinal Pell via videolink from Rome. By any measure it was a gruelling experience for all.
The interest, commentary and temperature around this past four days has never been greater – both here and internationally.
Loud Fence was born from the personal stories told to the Royal Commission by survivors of child sexual abuse. It is a direct response from communities around Australia to the suffering these children endured and a need to show them they are supported.
The Cathoic Standard in Hobart recently published an article by abuse survivor Peter Kaufman, dealing with the challanges Catholics face in dealing with the abuse revelations coming from the Royal Commission.
'Many people find this challenging to their faith as such behaviour flies in the face of the moral and religious claims the Church teaches,' he says.
'Many people have abandoned their connection with the Church or have modified their practice of the faith. Trust in Church leadership has been eroded and for many people belief in God has been compromised or even lost'.
This article first appeared in the Catholic Standard in Hobart on 5 July 2015.