Years of sexual abuse and silence has finally reached its limit as those who lived in the trauma of betrayal from the trusted Church authorities are finding justice taking a roll. Only a few days back, the Church of England admitted to having concealed instances of sexual abuse. Now, another representative of divinity has been slapped with multiple charges.
A top Vatican Cardinal and former Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has been charged with multiple historic sexual offenses and the Victoria state police have summoned him in an Australian court. He is currently the Vatican’s finance chief, which makes him the highest-ranking Catholic cleric to face charges.
It is notable that last year Pell declined to return to Australia citing ill health. He was supposed to give pieces of evidence to the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse in person. However, this year, as the charges have been levied, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said in a statement,
Cardinal Pell will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name following advice and approval by his doctors who will also advise on his travel arrangements.
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He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously.
When last year the pope was asked to comment on the situation he told reporters,
It’s true, there is a doubt. We have to wait for justice and not first make a mediatic judgment – a judgment of gossip – because that won’t help. Once justice has spoken, I will speak.
It will be interesting to see the stance of the Pope on this matter now that legal action has become a reality. As the Pope claimed to have zero tolerance against sexual offenders, the question arises whether he is willing to cast out such a powerful and important figure?