Cardinal George Pell, once the Cardinal of Australia, and currently the third highest ranking official in the Vatican, has been charged with a series of historical sex offenses. He is the highest ranking member of the Vatican that has ever been charged with such offenses. This follows a Royal Commission (investigation) into child abuse, within various institutions in Australia. The findings were horrific and heart breaking. Some of Pell’s prior colleagues and friends, including Gerald Risdale, have been found guilty and jailed for abhorrent and extensive crimes, including the sexual abuse of many children.
Shane Patton, the Victorian Police deputy commissioner said:
“Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences. There are multiple complainants relating to those charges.”
At this point Pell has only been charged, he has said he will return to Australia to face court and to deny the charges. The same Cardinal Pell caused huge outrage during the Royal Commission itself, when he refused to come back to Australia, to face the victims of sexual abuse by his church. Even before these recent personal charges, many saw Pell as a figure who had guarded perpetrators and failed to protect the vulnerable.
Singer/songwriter and comedian Tim Minchin even wrote a song, (below) telling Pell he should come home to look the victims in the eye. There was also a fundraising campaign to bring him back to Australia from Rome. He refused and fronted the commission via video cam instead. Many thought this to be cowardly and utterly disrespectful to the victims of abuse.
Children are particularly vulnerable. The Catholic church is a worldwide institution that has had many incidents where authority figures have taken advantage of their power in terrible ways. To break the trust and respect that communities had given them and ruin so many lives is just shocking.
In the past, Pell debated well known atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins about the existence of God. At one point in this debate (below), Pell said there had to be a hell otherwise Hitler got away with it. When human beings do something terrible, many like to think they will be punished in an after life.
As far as ‘sins’ go, abusing or betraying young children has to be pretty high up there.
Watch Pell debate Dawkins:
Watch Minchin’s song asking for Pell to return to Australia for the Royal Commission into sexual abuse:
Featured image via YouTube.