Victims of child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Australia have demanded the resignation of the Archbishop of Sydney.
The victims on Tuesday called for the resignation of George Pell, the top - ranking cardinal in Australia, a day after he appeared before the Parliament of Victoria for an inquiry into the cases of pedophilia by priests in Victoria State. Pell, an advisor to Pope Francis on Vatican reforms, admitted to the cover - up of a “horrendous widespread mess” regarding the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. “I am fully apologetic, and absolutely sorry, ” Pell told Victoria lawmakers on the final day of the inquiry. However, the victims and their supporters have reacted to the issue, saying they were unimpressed with the apology. Stephen Woods, one of the victims, slammed the remarks and said, “The little care for the victims that he showed, showed that they still don’t get it. ” “He needs to resign. His era is finished, ” Woods told reporters.
Victims’ campaigner Helen Last, from In Good Faith organization, said the top cardinal “is actually incompetent when it comes to running such a difficult area that we’re dealing with here, where there’s so many complexities for people, there’s so many issues to do with offenders, the victims, the family and the church itself. ”
“He just showed once again that basically he’s not set up to be doing it and I really think that the church should put someone else in there,” Last said. During the Monday inquiry, Pell said the church had been aware of the emerging issue of sex abuse from the late 1980s, but had failed to realize the scale of the issue. “If we’d been gossips, which we weren’t… we would have realized earlier just how widespread this business was.” “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 stated. Last week, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart told the inquiry that the church had been “slow to address the anguish of the victims and dealt with it very imperfectly.” The Catholic Church has admitted that some 620 children as young as seven have been raped by priests only in Victoria State since the 1930s. Another special commission of inquiry has also been formed in New South Wales to investigate similar allegations of abuse in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has set up a Royal Commission to probe how churches, government bodies and other organizations have dealt with cases of child sex abuse in the country.