Remember the victims says Father Andrew

A local Catholic Priest says the death of Cardinal George Pell will reignite memories for many victims of child sexual abuse by the clergy.

Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal Pell died in Vatican City aged 81.

The former Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney died from heart complications on Tuesday evening following hip surgery.

He was the Vatican’s top finance minister before he left Rome in 2017 to stand trial in Melbourne for child sexual abuse offences.

In 2018, Cardinal Pell was convicted of molesting two teenage choirboys in the sacristy at St Patrick’s Cathedral while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996.

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But Cardinal Pell always maintained his innocence and in 2020 his convictions were quashed in a unanimous decision by the High Court.

Ararat based Father Andrew Hayes said it is important to remember the victims of clergy sexual abuse at this time.

“My personal overwhelming sense on hearing the news of Cardinal George Pell’s death is pain for the countless victims and survivors of clergy abuse.

“During George’s time of trial and prison and subsequent exoneration I lamented that the Catholic Church’s focus, and that of the mainstream and social media, was being drawn away from the poor broken now-adult children and onto the fair-or-not accusations against Cardinal Pell,” Father Hayes said.

“For a couple of years the story became more about George and less about the hurting people. I continue to be sad about that.”

“In our Catholic Parish we will remember George and pray for his soul at Masses this weekend.

“I will be making clear to parishioners that God’s love and forgiveness isn’t diminished by sinful or even criminal actions. God doesn’t run out of forgiveness,” Father Hayes said.

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