Cardinal Pell says he will meet sex abuse victims

Cardinal George Pell responds to attacks about his inability to fly back to Australia for a Royal Commission into child sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church.
Cardinal George Pell responds to attacks about his inability to fly back to Australia for a Royal Commission into child sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church.

CLERGY sex abuse victims have responded to Cardinal George Pell's decision to "meet with and listen to" them.   

The controversial Australian Catholic leader's office released a statement early on Thursday following wide-spread anger over his refusal to return home to face victims of paedophile priests like the notorious Gerald Francis Ridsdale.

The statement also follows the release on Tuesday of comedian Tim Minchen's parody song urging Cardinal Pell to appear in person at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse later this month.

The song, Come Home (Cardinal Pell), is sitting at number one on the iTunes music chart.

"The past few days has seen a great deal of incorrect information relating to Cardinal George Pell and his upcoming royal commission appearance," the statement from the cardinal's office reads.

"The cardinal is anxious to present the facts without further delays.

"Cardinal Pell has always helped victims, listened to them and considered himself their ally.

"As an archbishop for almost 20 years, he has led from the front to put an end to cover ups, to protect vulnerable people and to try to bring justice to victims."

Cardinal Pell claims he is too sick to travel to Australia but that's not sitting well with survivors.

Survivor David Ridsdale, who is the nephew of Gerald Ridsdale, will join other Ballarat diocese survivors in Rome as

Cardinal Pell gives evidence via video link to the commission.

David said he wanted Cardinal Pell to "face the same conditions we faced in the Australian open court".

"We will happily meet with him," he said.

"I don't wish for a witch hunt.

"I wish for the legal processes to be followed through."

The survivors' trip was made possible by a crowd funding campaign that raised more than $170,000.
Gerald  Ridsdale, 81, was jailed for more than 150 sexual abuse and indecent assaults against more than 50 children in the 1960s-1980s.

Many of the attacks happened when Ridsdale was chaplain at St Alipius Boys School in Ballarat and while Cardinal Pell was working in the diocese.

Cardinal Pell has denied knowing of the attacks.


Topics:  cardinal george pell child sex abuse editors picks

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