Cardinal: Church made 'enormous mistakes' and 'let people down'

Testimony from Rome

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.

Photo: ABC

TJH Council Update February 29


Cardinal George Pell tells child abuse royal commission Catholic Church made 'enormous mistakes' (ABC)

Cardinal George Pell: Out of his comfort zone, and facing sex abuse survivors in Rome (The Age)

Cardinal Pell meets with Pope Francis ahead of second day of testimony at Royal Commission (

Cardinal George Pell: Ballarat reacts to testimony characterised by memory loss (The Age)

Cardinal Pell testimony brings sex abuse to Vatican's doorstep (Guardian)

Incurious George: Pell heard talk of sex abuse by priests, but 'rarely indulged' rumours (Guardian)

The moment in Pell's evidence that stunned ACT clergy abuse victim (Canberra Times)

TJHC MEDIA CLIPS: Overnight media selection

Cardinal Pell leaves abuse survivors unconvinced (ABC 7.30)

Cardinal Pell retains the support of the Pope: John Allen (ABC 7:30)

Cardinal Pell tells Commission Church mucked things up (ABC PM)

Cardinal George Pell gives evidence in Rome to the royal commission into child sexual abuse: Day 2 (Herald Sun

Cardinal George Pell admits 'indefensible' errors in abuse crisis (The Washington Post)

Cardinal Pell testimony brings sex abuse to Vatican's doorstep (The Guardian)

Cardinal Pell returns to Rome witness box (Sky News Australia) 

Children were not believed, Cardinal tells Australia abuse commission (euronews)

Cardinal admits 'scandalous' response to priest abuse allegations (Chicago Tribune)‎

Pell denies knowledge of Ballarat abuses (

Cardinal admits 'scandalous' response to abuse allegations (Boston Herald)

Cardinal: Australia 'Mucked Things Up' in Handling Pedophile Priests (Voice of America)

Cardinal George Pell: Senior Vatican official says Catholic church made 'enormous mistakes' over child abuse (The Independent

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)‎

Top Vatican cardinal grilled about 'absolutely scandalous' sex abuse by priests that rocked Australia (Washington Post)

Cardinal: Catholic Church Failed Abuse Victims (Sky News)

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)

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