Cardinal George Pell has accused the Green party in Australia of being “anti-religion” after a motion was passed in the Australian senate calling for his return to the country, in order to assist the police with clerical abuse investigations.
Earlier this week it emerged
that, according to an investigation by a Royal Commission in Australia,
seven per cent of Catholic priests between 1950 and 2010 were accused
of sexually abusing children.
Following the news, the Greens senator Rachel Siewert launched a
motion acknowledging the 4,444 alleged victims of child sexual abuse and
noting “the allegations of criminal misconduct against Cardinal George
Pell have been forwarded to the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions
by the Victoria police” and called on the cardinal to “return to
Australia to assist Victorian police and the Office of Public
Prosecutions with their investigations into these matters.”
The motion was subsequently passed by the Senate.
But a spokesman for the cardinal has said the motion was an act of
The statement read: “The Greens have opted
for an obvious political stunt while knowing full well Cardinal Pell has
consistently co-operated with the Royal Commission and the Victorian
“The suggestion that Cardinal Pell should be accountable for all the
wrongdoings of Church personnel throughout Australia over many decades
is not only unjust and completely fanciful but also acts to shield those
in the Church who should be called to account for their failures.
“The Greens would be well aware of the cardinal’s decisive actions to
address the evils of abuse and the changes he has implemented in the
Church over 20 years ago.
“Their anti-religion agenda is notorious and most fair-minded Australians would see this motion as pathetic point-scoring.”
Last year Australian police flew to Rome to interview Cardinal Pell
concerning allegations that he had previously committed sexual assault,
which Cardinal Pell has firmly denied.
The cardinal gave evidence to the Royal Commission via video link
from Rome in 2016 where he said the Church had made “enormous mistakes”
in its handling of abuse allegations.