Sky News has recruited News Corp’s columnist Andrew Bolt to report on Cardinal George Pell’s attendance to the royal commission for the proceedings of the sex abuse case from Rome.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Bolt, in one of his columns, favoured Pell and made him the pope’s advisor’s staunch defender. “Cardinal George Pell is the victim of one of the most vicious witch hunts to disgrace this country. It is shameful. Disgusting. Frightening,” Bolt wrote in his column published on February 18.

“People pretending to be moral have competed with each other to slime Pell as the defender of paedophiles, if not a paedophile himself. There is no mercy and no attention to the facts. There is just the joy of hatred,” he said.

However, he took a dramatic turn when he commented on Herald Sun where he said that the royal commission hearing witnessed on Tuesday would ruin Pell’s image completely, The Guardian reported.

“Here is the question now for the royal commission into sex abuse of children: is the Vatican’s third-most powerful leader a liar when he says he never knew what Ridsdale, his colleague, was doing in Ballarat?” the commentator wrote. “Or was he just dangerously indifferent to his responsibilities and to the warning signs that children were being raped?

Bolt witnessed the cross-examination session of Pell by the royal commission on Tuesday in Rome and said the session was “terrible” and the image of one of the powerful persons in Rome has been ruined forever. Under cross-examination sessions conducted by counsel Gail Furness SC assisting the commission, it heard Pell saying that he never asked about the decade-ago sex abuse case of Gerald Ridsdale. “It was a sad story and of not much interest to me. I had no reason to turn my mind to the evils Ridsdale had penetrated,” Pell told the commission.

Outside the hearing room from where Bolt reported, his statement of addressing the Ridsdale involvement in the abuse case as uninteresting will be “hung around his neck for the rest of his career.”

“Whether or not he directly knew – and the case against him is circumstantial – did he actually do what was necessary for any moral person and pursue the interests of the children being abused? And on that ground I think the case against him is very damning,” Andrew Bolt said.