Cardinal George Pell faces the royal commission again today from Rome, but yesterday during four hours of evidence, he admitted the Church had made "enormous mistakes" and "let people down" in its handling of child sexual abuse by priests.
Giving evidence yesterday morning via video link from the Hotel Quirinale in Rome, Cardinal Pell told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse related to Ballarat Diocese and Melbourne Archdiocese that he was "not here to defend the indefensible," and admitted children at the time were unlikely to be believed if they had come forward with allegations of abuse.
When asked if the general attitude of the Church was to not believe a child, he said it "certainly was much, much more difficult for the child to be believed then ... the predisposition was not to believe."
"... Too many of them certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances," he said.
"They were very, very, very plausible allegations made by responsible people that were not followed up sufficiently."
Cardinal Pell also said the instinct was to protect the Church in response to allegations. "At that stage, the instinct was more to protect the institution, the community of the Church, from shame," he said.
The moment in Pell's evidence that stunned ACT clergy abuse victim (Canberra Times)
TJHC MEDIA CLIPS: Overnight media selection
Cardinal George Pell admits 'indefensible' errors in abuse crisis (The Washington Post)
Cardinal Pell returns to Rome witness box (Sky News Australia)
Cardinal admits 'scandalous' response to priest abuse allegations (Chicago Tribune)
Pell denies knowledge of Ballarat abuses (NEWS.com.au)
Cardinal admits 'scandalous' response to abuse allegations (Boston Herald)
Cardinal: Australia 'Mucked Things Up' in Handling Pedophile Priests (Voice of America)
Top cardinal admits 'scandalous' response to Catholic church abuse allegations (The Globe and Mail)
Cardinal George Pell admits 'scandalous' response to abuse allegations (Washington Times)
A Top Pope Aide Calls Church Conduct in Australia Sex Abuse a 'Catastrophe' (Wall Street Journal)
Survivors reaction to Pell's testimony mixed (Sky News Australia)