Cardinal George Pell met in Rome with victims abused by priests.
They have traveled from Australia to Rome to witness their responses in the interrogation of the Australian commission investigating how the country's institutions responded to allegations of abuse.
"We've just had an extremely emotional meeting with cardinal Pell. We met on a level playing field, we met as people from Ballarat, and cardinal Pell has agreed to make a public statement.”
CARD. GEORGE PELL
MEETING WITH ABUSED VICTIMS
"It was hard; an honest and occasionally emotional meeting. I am committed to working with these people from Ballarat and surrounding areas.”
"We all want to try to make things better actually and on the ground especially for the survivors and their families and I undertake to continue to help the group work”. "The church-going people of Ballarat diocese are known for their loyalty and for their charity. And I urge them to continue to cooperate with the survivors to improve the situation.”
TAKING ACTION TO STOP SUICIDES
"One suicide is too many. And there have been many such tragic suicides. I commit myself to working with the group to try to stop this so that suicide is not seen as an option for those who are suffering.”
Cardinal Pell was not questioned as a defendant. He offered to testify before the Australian Commission investigating the country's institutions such as churches, schools or sports clubs for allegations of child abuse.
He was the adviser to the Bishop of Ballarat in the years in which several priests were accused of abusing minors. Others priests were also committing several crimes in his diocese when he was the auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.
In his four days of testimony Cardinal Pell said:
"I did not know that these priests were being transferred to a different parish because they were pedophiles”.
"The Church has committed huge mistakes and is working to remedy them. And in many places (the response) has spoiled things, it has disappointed people.”
In Melbourne, as auxiliary bishop, he denounced a priest but the archbishop said that "the evidence was insufficient.”
And unfortunately, in those years, it was customary to give less credibility to the victims.
The story shows that there has been a change in attitude, but despite everything that has happened, it has not yet been consolidated.