After four days of testimony before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Cardinal George Pell has continued to deny that he knew or should have known about the horrific child abuse being perpetrated by priests under his watch.

As to the crimes of notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, well, Pell just wasn’t that interested.

Pell: “It’s a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me. The suffering of course was real, and I regret that, but I had no reason to turn my mind to the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated.”

But someone is interested. Here is what Pope Francis said about the abuse of children that took place by members of the Catholic clergy: “I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart.”

“I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps.”

If the Pope is serious about holding victims’ stories deep in his heart, perhaps he should consider whether a man who was not interested in pursuing the truth of sexual abuse allegations is the right person for the No. 3 position in the Vatican. It’s time to show spiritual and moral leadership that Pell has so far avoided.

Peter Fray

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