Austen Ivereigh writes:
Yet Pell has honestly named the point which consistently gets ignored in the coverage of child sex abuse, especially in relation to the Church — namely, the vast gulf of moral awareness and empathy that separates our time from the 1970s-80s.
Back then, people didn’t much know or care about child abuse. There was a generalised social silence. Victims hardly ever complained. It wasn’t seen as a police matter, and if the police were informed they tended to pass the matter onto the bishop to deal with….
[Austen Ivereigh] It is a remarkable coincidence that Cardinal George Pell, one of the Vatican’s most senior figures, should be giving evidence to an Australian child abuse enquiry in the week that the Spotlight movie received an Oscar, and not long after the Pope’s safeguarding advisory body suspended one of its members.
It is also remarkable that this extraordinary confluence of events should be taking place in Lent, a time for facing past failings and sins. There is a strong sackcloth-and-ashes feel both to Spotlight, and to the evidence that Cardinal Pell is giving each night over video link from the Quirinale Hotel in Rome to the Australian Royal Commission into institutional responses to sexual child abuse.
The Commission is investigating the extent to which Cardinal Pell was party to decisions by bishops in Ballarat and Melbourne to shuffle paedophile priests between parishes, despite the appalling harm they committed. This is the third…
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