Cardinal Pell flip-flops over Royal Commision into clerical sexual abuse

LAST Saturday, Australia’s most senior Catholic strongly expressed his opposition to calls for a Royal Commission to be set up in Australia to investigate clerical child sex abuse, and prattled on about “anti-Catholic bias”.

Cardinal George Pell

According to this report, he was “deeply ashamed” over child sex abuse perpetrated by members of his Church, but did not believe a Royal Commission was warranted.

The Archbishop of Sydney said he accepted that children were abused by priests and that the crimes were covered up by other clergy but believed the Catholic Church was no worse than other organisations,

When he learned today that a Royal Commission is to go ahead, he welcomed the investigation, and said he hoped the new inquiry would clear the air.

He said in a statement:

Public opinion remains unconvinced that the Catholic Church has dealt adequately with sexual abuse. Ongoing and at times one-sided media coverage has deepened this uncertainty. This is one of the reasons for my support for this Royal Commission.

His statement came after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a Royal Commission to investigate decades of child abuse in churches, schools and foster homes.

Gillard said the commission would address “institutional responses to child abuse” – the instances of abuse as well as the manner in which they have been dealt – by a range of institutions.

The announcement follows calls by the “anti-Christian” Greens and some Labor backbenchers for a Royal Commission into abuse in the Catholic Church, after it was alleged by a senior policeman that investigations were hindered and in some cases compromised by church officials.

Gillard stressed the inquiry would not be limited to the Catholic Church.

We will work on the specific terms of reference but this is about children who were in the care of religious organisations – so that’s all religious organisations –  it’s about children who were in state care, it’s about children who were in the care of not-for-profit bodies other than religious organisations, it will therefore go as well to the response of children’s services agencies, and the response of the police.

She added:

The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking. These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject. The individuals concerned deserve the most thorough of investigations into the wrongs that have been committed against them.

They deserve to have their voices heard and their claims investigated. I believe a Royal Commission is the best way to do this.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had earlier given his backing to a Royal Commission, provided it was not limited to the Catholic Church.

On hearing that a Commission would be set up, Pell declared:

I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement. I believe the air should be cleared and the truth uncovered. We shall cooperate fully with the royal commission.

On Saturday he said that it wasn’t just the Catholic Church that believed abusive priests would mend their ways if moved to pastures new.

And, breathtakingly:

Back in those days, they were entitled to think of paedophilia as simply a sin that you would repent of. They didn’t realise that in the worst cases it was an addiction, a raging addiction.

He said that the Catholic Church had rid itself of “a great deal of moral cancer” after abuse claims came to light.

His comments came as NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced a special commission to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by Catholic Church clergy in the Hunter region.

The commission will be run by prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, SC, and will examine allegations made by a senior serving police officer of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in the Newcastle area.

It will also look into alleged cover-ups by members of the church and the police force.

A separate parliamentary inquiry into clergy child abuse allegations is currently taking place in Victoria.

Hat tip: Bill Murray and Tim Davies


26 responses to “Cardinal Pell flip-flops over Royal Commision into clerical sexual abuse”

  1. RabbitOnAStick says:

    this is what the policeman had to say.

    Chief Inspector Fox, who had investigated several cases of sexual assault over 35 years, had called for a Royal Commission in an open letter.

    “I can testify from my own experience that the church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church,” he wrote.

    wow!! the RC covering up and doing all that. Doesn’t their goat herder handbook say ……….. hmmm….. a……aa………..aaaa

  2. RabbitOnAStick says:

    This is a BBC report on HITLER’s charisma.

    Just insert priest, pope, vicar, pastor into the words where he or hitler appears. and church etc for beer halls. Sound familiar.

    “Before WWI he was a nobody, an oddball who could not form intimate relationships, was unable to debate intellectually and was filled with hatred and prejudice.

    But when Hitler spoke in the Munich beer halls in the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in WWI, suddenly his weaknesses were perceived as strengths.”

  3. Ex Patriot says:

    The rcc has been and always will be a foul evil institution, it has stolen and robbed the poor of all they may have had with the false pomise of a some mythical paradise after you drop dead. It is about time someone causes it untold grief.

  4. AgentCormac says:

    Its utter lack of contrition and, unbelievably, its posturing as the victim of the abuse story show that the RCC has no shame, no remorse and no intention of letting these accusations dent its power. This is a vile organisation that likes to promote the facade that it is somehow caring and loving. Nothing could be further from reality. It peddles lies as truth, falsehoods as salvation and has just one thing at the heart of its operations – and that is protecting its own self interests, privilege, wealth and power with everything and everyone else being utterly expendable irrelevances. These are not nice people. They need to go.

  5. Lazy Susan says:

    “The Archbishop of Sydney […] believed the Catholic Church was no worse than other organisations.”

    This from the source of moral authority, the moral absolutes, the moral compass … you gotta love it. As Stephen Fry asked them, “What are you for?!”

  6. lucy says:

    Back in those days, they were entitled to think of paedophilia as simply a sin that you would repent of. They didn’t realise that in the worst cases it was an addiction, a raging addiction.

    Indeed, Barry, my breath was took.

    So the line is, they were ‘entitled’ to give no thought to the victims, only see it as a sin you could easily wash off. But ‘in the worst cases’ it might be an addiction. Again, no thought for what the ‘worst cases’ might be for the victims. It’s all about the stinking perpetrators.

  7. AgentCormac says:

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has said that “…talk of a systemic problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is ill-founded and inconsistent with the facts”.

    Yeah, right.

  8. RabbitOnAStick says:


    many paedophiles have very serious issues about children they abuse that most of us find abhorrent. They carry out this sexual crime ( i do not believe through addiction as one would using drugs or substances) but because the abused are very easy targets, they are weak, niave and innocent and very easily manipulated. It is incredibly gratifying to them to have sex with children. Much more so than with consenting adults. Many consider it quite ‘normal’ and nice to have sex with children. A ‘gift from gawd’ if you like. I myself have heard them say this. Thats it’s a ‘beautiful act’ full of love and kindness and wonder (for the children). It’s not bad or wrong, it’s wonderful.

    These people should simply do not understand the crime, the immorality the truly disgusting actions they carry out. To them this is beautiful and most wondrous.

  9. Angela_K says:

    I bet the cover up investigation goes back to and will stop at the Vatican city walls. The paper-shredders are already working overtime.

  10. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    And about time too. It’s good to see that it will investigate all abuse crimes, not just those perpetrated by the rcc. I have no doubt though that the rcc will come out of this much much worse than any other organisation. Others may have committed the same crimes but I doubt that any other institution has so systematically orchestrated a cover up so intensive as that organised by the rcc.

  11. Lazy Susan says:

    Do you think Gillard is being motivated by her atheism at all?

  12. […] Cardinal Pell flip-flops over Royal Commision into clerical sexual abuse. Rate this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  13. lucy says:

    Agreed, but the RC line seemed to be it was ‘just a sin’, so they knew it was just did not matter about the victims. Or are you saying that the line would be the victims were having a lovely time, it was just a sin for the priest?? maybe.. I have not heard that particular piece of special pleading, yet.

  14. lucy says:

    @lazy susan

    Exactly. The moral compass and source of all certainties of god’s mind, is no worse than any other sexually exploitative and corrupt organisation. Breath took again.

  15. RabbitOnAStick says:


    I can say I see the RCC say it was a sin, and then repenting used to be OK, that would get them into heaven, and that is if these foul people even bothered to confess and repent. Nonsense if you think on this as it doesn’t even result in accepting their behaviour was criminal. Rather more it was “slightly erroneous”.
    Confession is confidential so no evidence can ever come from it, Like I expressed a view about confession some posts ago.

    As to the point about repenting the victim doesn’t exist. The issue is solely to assist the priest as the abuser. There are NO victims. “Victims” are the priests who were exposed or found out. And as ‘victim’ they then received all the help the rcc could muster to make this all go away – truly disgusting

    The experience of paedophiles, and that they enjoy the sexual abuse and throughly believe so too do the children they abuse, comes from hearing them give evidence at court. I have prosecuted several.

  16. JohnMWhite says:

    I do wonder what’s so one-sided about a media that provides idiots like Pell endless column inches to make excuses, equivocate and outright lie about the endemic sexual abuse and cover up thereof within the Catholic Church. Could it be that they simply give them enough rope to hang themselves instead of actively trying to discredit the sheer cliff of evidence that this institution is utterly corrupt and perverted? How dare they?!

    The remark that paedophilia was ‘simply a sin that you repent of’ demonstrates exactly what is wrong with the Catholic concept of morality. To them, paedophilia was bad purely because god didn’t like it, just like homosexuality and working on a Sunday. Whether there is a victim or not means nothing, the suffering and lasting damage caused by these actions are irrelevant, and of course children are only tools for god’s army anyway. All that matters is one’s personal relationship with god and whether you bug him by falling foul of his petty, arbitrary pet hates. Rape a child? God might be a bit annoyed because you’re supposed to do that to women, but if you say sorry he’ll forgive you. It’s the perfect mode of morality for creating functioning sociopaths – every action becomes nothing more than a transaction. As ever, Pell has revealed far more than he meant to when whining in the media about the terrible media being mean to the poor, defenceless billionaire paedophile ring.

  17. RussellW says:

    @Lazy Susan,

    No, Gillard is motivated by public opinion and a lack of confidence in the ability of state governments to effectively deal with the problem.

    The Commission will catch more than Catholic rats, as it will investigate other organisations as well.

  18. Matt Westwood says:


  19. David Buchan says:

    My congratulations to the “Top cop” who has forced this long overdue ‘Investigation’, Not to Gillard who who has, as we all have, known about this abuse and clerical cover-up for years but has done nothing.

    Broadening the ‘terms of enquiry’ is probably a good thing but I believe any investigation should begin with the self appointed demigod, Cardinal Pell, who’s corrupt antics, cover-up and bullshit have been well documented over the years and work its way down.

    Victims require compensation NOW, not in 10 years, so start with the Catholic Church and get on with it!

  20. Robster says:

    Oh goody, the catliks are gonna support the royal commission. They’ve got no choice, that’s why it had to be a “Royal Commission”. Those requested are compelled to attend, no choice. This is going to be great theatre, lots off silly men in dresses lying through their teeth, hey that sounds like Sunday at church. Hope they get somebody else to cater, wine and bloody crackers is all the catholics ever seem to serve.

  21. Georgina says:

    @Lazy Susan: “Do you think Gillard is being motivated by her atheism at all?”
    One could hope, but no, few atheists are “motivated by their atheism”, mostly we are motivated by the same things that everyone is motivated by.
    Of course, you could make the argument that we are not motivated by a non-existent god, and hope the negatives cancel out.

    I hope she is motivated by disgust, abhorrence and abomination. Expecting the RCC to feel guilt over rape is foolhardy, these are the people who tortured and burned people alive ‘to save their souls’. There is nothing beautiful about religious belief.

  22. “Back in those days, they were entitled to think of paedophilia as simply a sin that you would repent of. They didn’t realise that in the worst cases it was an addiction, a raging addiction.”

    That is a horrendous statement. They would have known from hearing confessions that some priests were abusing time and time again for children were easy targets and known about paedophiles who seemed addicted. Its sickening to be asked by a Church that makes excuses to forgive it.

  23. AgentCormac says:

    Consider what the BBC is now going through regarding the cover-up of sexual abuse in its ranks, with top officials tendering their resignations as a matter of course. And then consider how the RCC has reacted to the abuse perpetrated by so many of its employees. Not with shame. Not with honour. And not with a sense of wanting to do the decent thing. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  24. Andy says:

    “Do you think Gillard is being motivated by her atheism at all?”

    No. Her atheism has not reduced her wholesale support for publicly-funded chaplains in secular schools and neither did it prevent her accepting a role as keynote speaker at a Christian lobby conference (a role she ultimately didn’t fulfill).

    I suspect that she’s motivated by “politics”, with a capital “poll”.

  25. Fiona Gilson says:

    No worse than other organisations??? Where is this man living? And err … that makes it okay then?