13 APRIL 2020, THE TABLET
Cardinal Pell speaks of scourge of ‘meth’ in prison
by Mark Bowling
Cardinal George Pell (right) speaks to police upon arrival at the Seminary Of The Good Shepherd in Sydney, Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAP/PA Images
Cardinal George Pell has revealed he is ashamed of the Catholic Church for the way it dealt with the “cancer” of child sex abuse in the past.
“There are two levels. One is the crimes itself, … and then treating it so inadequately for so long,” Cardinal Pell has said after his acquittal and release from prison, in an interview to be broadcast worldwide by Sky News tomorrow.
Cardinal Pell has spoken about the scourge of child abuse in the Church and how the many failures to act still haunt him today.
“I totally condemn those sorts of activities, and the damage that it’s done to people,” he said.
“One of the things that grieves me is the suggestion that I’m anti-victim, or not sufficiently sympathetic.”
In the interview, Cardinal Pell is understood to speak of his 405 days behind bars, before the High Court of Australia quashed five counts of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s.
He speaks of several inmates he befriended including a convicted murderer, as well as witnessing the devastation caused by addiction to “ice”, or crystal methamphetamine, on fellow prisoners.
Since his release from the maximum security Barwon Prison in Victoria on April 7, Cardinal Pell has also penned an Easter message in a national newspaper titled: “In the suffering, we find redemption.”
Cardinal Pell wrote that the sexual abuse crisis damaged thousands of victims.
“From many points of view the crisis is also bad for the Catholic Church, but we have painfully cut out a moral cancer and this is good,” he wrote in The Weekend Australian.
He said everyone suffers, prompting questions about what to do.
“Why is there so much evil and suffering. And why did this happen to me,” he said.
Pell labels his initial conviction a disappointment but says he will turn the prison experience to “good purpose”.
“I have just spent 13 months in jail for a crime I didn’t commit, one disappointment after another,” he wrote.
“I knew God was with me, but I didn’t know what he was up to, although I realised he has left all of us free.
“But with every blow it was a consolation to know I could offer it to God for some good purpose like turning the mass of suffering into spiritual energy.”
Soon after his release, Cardinal Pell was driven from Melbourne to Sydney where he has been staying in a seminary.
Given the controversy around him would Pell not be well advised to stop making public statements?
Many people still do not believe he is innocent.
Others say he was a over up bishop himself.
He had had a very good life, has never wanted for anything and in later years went 1st class.
There is just something very uncomfortable about him condemning sex abuse and his church’s handling of it.
There may be new cases against him.