Top Australian cleric apologizes for abuse

Top Australian cleric apologizes for abuse

SYDNEY - Agence France-Presse
Top Australian cleric apologizes for abuse

Cardinal Pell apologizes to those who suffered at the hands of priests. AFP photo

Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric yesterday apologized to those who “suffered at the hands” of priests and religious teachers, in a Christmas message issued after a turbulent year for the Church.

In the video message broadcast on television, Sydney Archbishop George Pell said he was shocked and ashamed, following a series of pedophile allegations against priests and claims they were hushed up.

Contrary to Christianity

Pell said his heart went out to “all those who cannot find peace at this time, especially those who have suffered at the hands of fellow Christians, Christian officials, priests, religious teachers.”

“I am deeply sorry this has happened,” he added. “I feel too the shock and shame across the community at these revelations of wrongdoing and crimes.” Without specifically mentioning child sex abuse, Pell said the hurt caused was “completely contrary” to Christ’s teachings.

“We need our faith in God’s goodness and love to cope with these disasters, to help those who have been hurt,” he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard last month ended more than a decade of growing pressure by ordering a royal commission to investigate the responses of all religious organizations, schools and state care to allegations of abuse.