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Finally, some humility and compassion

Cardinal George Pell salvaged some humility and compassion at the end of an emotional week.
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His decision to meet with a group of child sex abuse survivors who were tortured by paedophile priests, including the notorious Gerald Ridsdale at Mortlake, was a small but significant step forward.

The survivors, mostly from Ballarat, made the trek to Rome to hear Cardinal Pell’s testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. They were seeking answers to why the abuse was allowed to happen.

Cardinal Pell’s testimony throughout theweek was tough to watch for many reasons

The week began with little comfort for the survivors with Cardinal Pell denying any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending and condemned BallaratBishop Ronald Mulkearns for failing to act appropriately by shifting the disgraced priest from parish to parish.

He admitted the church was more concerned about its own reputation than the welfare of victims.

His comments thatRidsdale’s crimes were “a sad story” that was not of much interest to him stunned survivors and observers. It smacked of ignorance and arrogance and he was roundlycriticised.

But after his fourth night of evidence, he addressed the media and sought to clarify those comments, saying he had been confused by the question and made a poor choice of words.

Cardinal Pell is not the worst of those involved in thisdecades-long scandal.Others let down thevictims and survivors in a terrible and unbelievablefashion, and they should be punished for it.

But Cardinal Pell representsa hierarchy that cares much more about itself than it does about those in its care.

The Catholic Church’s focus on its own reputation, and unwillingness to be accountable, will be the one thing that will destroy what it soughtto protect.

If this Royal Commission and the past week have proved one thing, that is it.

It is a very sad state of affairs that an institution whose values align itself so strongly with helping those in need, lost its way.

The toll on individuals and communities has been large.

Cardinal Pell’s vow to create a healing centre in Ballarat for survivors is another small step in the right direction.

But the words have to be backed up with actions. This must never be allowed to happen again.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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