Pope Francis I encouraged the Pontifical Gregorian University's Hans Zollner, head of the Centre for the Protection of Children, to "move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse.”
|English: Pope Benedict XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
This is in continuity with Benedict XVI’s work in the field. Four months ago we presented him with the proceedings of the symposium they celebrated at the Gregorian University in February 2012. The symposium was attended by bishops’ conferences from all around the world, who discussed ways to prevent crimes against children.”
Australia’s top-ranking Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, formerly archbishop of Melbourne, and one of eight cardinals selected by Pope Francis to advise him on reforming the Catholic Church’s opaque administration, was speaking on the final day of the probe.
According to Agence France Presse (AFP), last week Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart told the inquiry the church had been slow to act against paedophile priests and Pell admitted it had dealt with child sex abuse “very imperfectly”.
“I would agree that we’ve been slow to address the anguish of the victims and dealt with it very imperfectly,” he said.
The Catholic Church in Australia, as in other parts of the world, has endured a long-running controversy over its response to past abuses by priests.
Pell said the church had been aware of the emerging issue of sex abuse from the late 1980s, but had failed to comprehend the scale of the problem.
“If we’d been gossips, which we weren’t… we would have realised earlier just how widespread this business was,” he said.
“I don’t think many, if any, persons in the leadership of the Catholic Church knew what a horrendous widespread mess we were sitting on.”
Pell said the fact that paedophile priests had been moved to other parishes had had disastrous consequences.
“There’s no doubt about it that lives have been blighted,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it that these crimes have contributed to too many suicides.”