Pope Francis’ top advisor Cardinal George Pell has met with the victims of the child sex abuse who came to watch him before he appeared in the landmark inquiry by the royal commission.
Pell’s “honest and occasionally emotional” meeting with the abused children took place hours following four nights of interrogation and his claims of ignoring the complaints that came from the children at Catholic school during Australia’s royal commission’s inquiry hearing via video link. “I am committed to working with these people from Ballarat and surrounding areas,” Pell said in a statement on Thursday. He referred to the Catholic area as where he worked as a priest from 1960s to 1970s.
“I know many of their families and I know the goodness of so many people in Catholic Ballarat: a goodness which is not extinguished by the evil that was done,” Pell added.
Pell went for a one-on-one meeting with Philip Nagle, an abuse survivor, who was the victim of priest Stephen Farrel when he studied at St. Alipius Christian Brother primary school in Ballarat. Nagle was been found doubting Pell’s testimonial at the royal commission, but he claimed that his meeting with Pell had been good where the former priest understood Nagle wanted to focus on the future rather than past.
“When you talk about helping survivors going forward, unfortunately that does – when you talk about those things – it covers money. It involves counselling, keeping our fellow survivors alive going forward. I actually think he gets that bit,” Nagle said.
Pell mentioned the meet as hard but emotional. He also promised to help the child sex abuse victims in all possible manners. “I heard each of their stories and their suffering. It was a hard and honest and occasionally emotional meeting,” he said as quoted by The Guardian. “We all want to try to make things better, actually and on the ground,” Pell said in a statement that he read in front of journalists waiting for him at the Hotel Quirinale in Rome.