Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Aussie cardinal apologises to child sex abuse victim

27 March 2014, 15:13

Sydney - Australia's top Catholic cleric George Pell apologised to a child sexual abuse victim on Thursday, saying the church's defence of a case he brought could be seen as morally wrong, even if it was legally correct.

Cardinal Pell, recently appointed by Pope Francis to head a new Vatican finance ministry, was giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia.

Wrapping up his testimony, he apologised to former altar boy John Ellis, who was abused by a priest from the age of 13.

Ellis sued the church seeking compensation from the Archdiocese of Sydney, at the time headed by Pell, but lost his case.

Pell said it was legally proper to defend the case, even though he did not deny that Ellis, now an adult, suffered at the hands of paedophile priest Aidan Duggan, who is now deceased.

"I never at any stage contemplated doing anything improper and I don't believe that our lawyers ever suggested anything that was legally improper," Pell said.

Harrowing allegations

He conceded, however, that taking such a hard-line stance against an abuse victim could be seen as a moral failure and apologised to Ellis.

"As former archbishop and speaking personally, I would want to say to Mr Ellis that we failed in many ways, some inadvertently, in our moral and pastoral responsibilities to him," Pell said in the apology.

"I want to acknowledge his suffering and the impact of this terrible affair on his life. As the then Archbishop, I have to take ultimate responsibility, and this I do."

The national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is under way after a decade of growing pressure to investigate widespread allegations of paedophilia.

Its hearings are covering harrowing allegations of child abuse involving places of worship, orphanages, community groups and schools.

Pell, who is not accused of any sexual abuse, said earlier this week that mistakes were "made by me and others in the Church that resulted in driving Mr Ellis and the Archdiocese apart rather than bringing healing".

The royal commission follows an Australian state inquiry into the handling of child sex cases by the Catholic Church last year which found that religious leaders trivialised the problem of child sex abuse.

Last month Pope Francis handed Pell, formerly Archbishop of Sydney, a posting which makes him one of the most important men in the Catholic Church.

As such Pell is charged with helping overhaul the much-criticised central administration following a wave of scandals, including allegations of waste, corruption and even money-laundering.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...