Pope Francis has stayed silent on the controversy surrounding Cardinal George Pell but sources say he is set to come under renewed pressure to condemn him
Pope Francis has stayed silent on the controversy surrounding Cardinal George Pell but sources say he is set to come under renewed pressure to condemn him

Pressure mounts on Pope Francis after Pell findings

Pope Francis will come under renewed pressure to condemn his former right-hand man following damning royal commission findings, church sources say.

Francis has until now managed to stay virtually silent on the controversy surrounding Cardinal George Pell, who served as the pope's finance chief until he was charged with sex offences in 2017.

But the sources say the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse could now force the pope's hand.

While there are no plans for Cardinal Pell to return to the Vatican to work, as a cardinal he remains the most senior Catholic in Australia.

Already survivors of abuse from Ballarat have called on the pope to act.

Cardinal George Pell in 2008. Picture: AAP
Cardinal George Pell in 2008. Picture: AAP

Paul Levey, who was abused by then Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale, said the pope had the opportunity to show he would not tolerate child abuse cover-ups.

Timothy Green, who complained to Cardinal Pell of abuse in 1974, said he had been overwhelmed by the commission believing him.

He was 12 or 13 when he told Cardinal Pell, then a Ballarat priest, that Christian Brother Edward Dowlan was "touching little boys" at St Patrick's College.

Mr Green told the inquiry the then Father Pell said "don't be ridiculous" and walked away.

The royal commission accepted Mr Green's account, saying it "must have required great courage" to approach Father Pell.

Lawyer Vivian Waller said Mr Green, who was himself sexually abused by Dowlan, was relieved the unredacted report had been released, five years after he gave evidence.

"It has been difficult for him to live with the ongoing uncertainty since that time," Dr Waller said on Thursday.

Cardinal Pell's testimony was that he had no recollection of the incident and did not accept Mr Green spoke to him in 1974 about Dowlan.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

shannon.deery@news.com.au

Originally published as Pressure mounts on Pope Francis after Pell findings



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