HUNTER victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse have called for Cardinal George Pell to resign, amid claims the Church is in damage control to protect its money and power.
The Church denied the claims but victims remain unsatisfied with what they consider to be ‘‘un-Christ-like behaviour’’ over the cover-up of child sex abuse and the response to it.
The Newcastle Herald reported yesterday that Cardinal Pell told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child sex abuse he was ‘‘fully apologetic and absolutely sorry’’ for clergy abuse. He admitted that abuse had been covered up.
Salt Ash man Rob Lipari, who was sexually assaulted as a boy by a Catholic school priest in the 1970s, alleged Cardinal Pell’s main concern was money and power.
‘‘It’s about protecting the Church’s assets and his tail,’’ Mr Lipari said.
When asked at the inquiry if the Church covered up child abuse for so many years to protect its reputation and money, Cardinal Pell said: ‘‘The primary motivation would have been to respect the reputation of the Church.’’ Cardinal Pell said the Church would ‘‘pay whatever the law recommends is appropriate compensation’’.
Mr Lipari said Cardinal Pell and other Church leaders must resign for the Church to survive.
Raworth’s Bob O’Toole, who was sexually abused as a boy by a Marist Brother at Hamilton, was disappointed in Cardinal Pell.
‘‘As a Catholic, I think he should resign over the mishandling of abuse,’’ Mr O’Toole said. ‘‘I don’t really think he understands from the victims’ point of view.’’
Mr Lipari said the Victorian and Newcastle inquiries and the royal commission were about ‘‘the systemic cover-up’’ of child sex abuse in the Church.
One of the inquiry’s commissioners asked whether Church cover-ups had been ‘‘un-Christ-like’’.
‘‘That’s the worst, most damaging thing they could say to Pell, but it’s also the truest thing to say to Pell,’’ Mr Lipari said.