How are bishops being held accountable for abuse and cover up?

Australian Cardinal George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court Oct. 6. (CNS photo/Mark Dadswell, Reuters)

This week on “Inside the Vatican,” Gerry and I update you on Australian Cardinal George Pell and several other high-profile cases of abuse. We’ll also talk about Pope Francis’ sixth anniversary as pope.


Cardinal Pell was sentenced to six years in prison for abusing two choirboys in Melbourne Cathedral in the late 1990s. He’ll be eligible for parole in three years and eight months, and he plans to appeal the court’s decision in June. We’ll look at his legacy as a reformer of Vatican finances as well as the significance of his recent conviction.

We’ll also look at several new cases that might show us how authorities inside and outside of the church are holding bishops accountable for sexual abuse and its cover-up.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope on March 13, 2013. In our final story, Gerry and I will look back on the impact Francis has made in his six years as pope.

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Jim Spangler
1 week 3 days ago

Now that is one big question? How are Bishops being held accountable? We have never heard prior to the sex abuse meeting in February and we still don't know. We know that there are lots who have dirty footprints on their doorsteps, but all remains silent! My prayer is that the Justice Department" in the U. S. continues to investigate each Diocese, and if they find any information that a Bishop has covered up, or failed to take action that they be sentenced to many years behind bars. Six years for Pell was too lenient! He should have received "hard labor"!

Michael Cardinale
1 week 3 days ago

Why, too lenient; why hard labor? After listening to the trial judge, and reading and listening to the reporting from Australia on the evidence, a guilty finding is incredible. Without an accusation, the police began looking for evidence of sexual abuse by Cardinal Pell. They went as far as putting ads in the newspaper asking that someone come forward and accuse him of abuse. One person did. He said he and another choirboy were forced to perform oral sex on then Bishop Pell for six minutes immediately after a mass. Though the other boy was dead and never accused Cardinal Pell of anything, the prosecutor still charged the Cardinal with two counts. The fact that after mass Cardinal Pell was in full vestments, that there are routinely acolytes, sacristans, and other assistants in and around the sacristy where the abuse allegedly occurred, that Cardinal Pell always greeted people at the cathedral entrance after mass, that over a dozen witnesses said he wasn't in the sacristy immediately after mass, and that the bishop does not disvest in the sacristy but in the bishops vestment room, did not seem to phase the jury. Also, the accuser did not give testimony to the jury; his previous testimony at a prior trial (hung jury 10 to 2 favoring not-guilty) was read to the jury. (But, you may be happy to know that Cardinal Pell has a bad heart, and no one expects him to live long in jail, anyway.)

Paul Mclaughlin
1 week 3 days ago

Frankly, American political and law enforcement officials are nearly as much to blame as the bishops, et al. When the crisis broke with Porter in Fall River, no one investigation, arrest or trial was held that focused on those who covered-up the mess. It took until 2018 for the PA AG to issue a report, which by then had allegations thet extended beyond the statue of limitations.


Law and the rest should have been round up and arrested. There were laws on the books that would have applied. Sexual and child abuse was illegal then. Hush money was illegal, covering-up crimes was illegal....

I am not ignoring wrong of Bishops and clergy, but this grandstanding by politicians is bull crap.

Jonathan Durham
11 hours 11 min ago

I can't get enough of these filth in the Catholic Church going down. It makes me sad this happened but oh so happy that something is FINALLY being done about it.
Jonathan with San Mateo rodents

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