In Australia, a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is taking place. Dates have been set aside for hearings specifically regarding the church authorities in Ballarat. Cardinal Pell (who was Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996-2001), was due to give evidence from the 29th February to 2nd March. He has stated that he is unfit to travel from Rome to answer his critics and face the victims of child sexual abuse (those who survived). Under Pell’s leadership, The Melbourne Response was born. Some victims were offered compensation with a clause recognizing that the church had no liability. It has been heard at the hearings that Pell tried to bribe a victim of abuse in order to prevent the abuse being made public. In 2013, Pell admitted in a Parliamentary inquiry that his church had covered up abuse for fear of scandal; that his predecessor had destroyed records and moved paedophile priests from parish to parish. -Source Wikipedia
A fund has been set up, to give the victims of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to travel to Rome and confront him. It is a big part of their healing. The master wordsmith, Tim Minchin, has put out the extraordinary song below.
I befriended quite a few students who attended a now-notorious Catholic boy’s school in the 80’s and 90’s. They confided to me the abuse they were suffering. I saw these young boys age from eleven through to fifteen years. They grew taller, though somehow seemed to wither, their shoulders rounded and backs hunched. They ran away, wagged school and drank to blot out the pain. A few turned to drugs. Many eventually committed suicide. I would hold these crying boys in my arms, and assure them that one day, the truth would come out. “People will care what happened to you. Please, just hold on,” I would plead. It has taken a very long time and as I said, many boys aren’t here to take part in the Royal Commission. The survivors need to see Pell take the stand and look them in the eye. People have been putting money into the fund in droves. I pray that the surviving boys have lived to see it. People care, and it is now your time to be heard and validated. Royal Commissions are important to ensure such horror never has the opportunity to take place again.