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Apology to Australia abuse victims

Monday, May 27, 2013 - 01:22

May 27 - Australia's most senior Catholic cleric apologises to child victims of abuse by priests. Paul Chapman reports.

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Cardinal George Pell is Australia's most senior Catholic cleric. On Monday, appearing at a parliamentary hearing in Melbourne, he apologised to child victims of sexual abuse by priests. (SOUNDBITE)(English) ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY, CARDINAL GEORGE PELL SAYING: "I would just like that I am happy to accept the invitation of the premier (of the State of Victoria) to say that I am fully apologetic and absolutely sorry." Child abuse scandals have haunted the Church for more than two decades in Australia. But Pell blamed a former culture of silence for the cover-up of abuse by the clergy. And he said church leaders in the past had been reluctant to share information about accused priests. (SOUNDBITE)(English) ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY, CARDINAL GEORGE PELL SAYING: "I think the bigger fault was that nobody would talk about it, nobody would mention it. So I don't think - I certainly was unaware of it - I don't think many, if any, persons in the leadership of the Catholic church knew what a horrendous, widespread, mess we were sitting on." A rare Royal Commission's also been set up to look into how Australia's churches, government bodies and other organisations have dealt with child sex abuse cases. Pell has said the Catholic church would fully co-operate although the commission has yet to start hearing evidence.

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Apology to Australia abuse victims

Monday, May 27, 2013 - 01:22