According to the Vatican, there are still 8,000 high-ranking pedophile priests at-large, and Pope Francis refuses to do anything about it.
In 2013, Pope Francis admitted that around 2% of the Church’s priests were pedophiles.
Yet, despite the recent firing of the 3rd highest ranking Catholic Cardinal, George Pell, the Pope does not intend to actively pursue any other pedophiles within the church unless forced to by the police.
News.com.au reports: Pope Francis on Saturday decided not to renew German Cardinal Gerhard Mueller’s position, instead replacing the 69-year-old with his 73-year-old deputy, Spanish Jesuit Monsignor Luis Ladaria Ferrer.
Although no exact reason was given for the dismissal of Mueller, one of the most powerful men in the Vatican, it is believed to have been made due to a backlog of some 2000 cases of sexual abuse that had amassed during his five-year term in the position.
His office had also come under intense criticism from survivors of abuse for not doing enough to protect children from paedophile priests. Criticism which Pope Francis agreed with.
In May, Francis assigned more staff to the office, known as the Congregation for the Doctine of the Faith, to handle the overload of sex abuse cases.
The Pope’s move to fire Mueller has been considered a show of commitment to his ‘zero tolerance’ attitude towards sexual abuse by clergymen in light of accusations made against Pell.
Although the cardinal has strongly denied the charges, the Pope has continually come under widespread criticism for having appointed Pell to one of the most powerful positions in the Vatican.
Pell will face a Melbourne court hearing on multiple charges of historical sexual assault on July 26.
Meanwhile, his Australian supporters have set up a fund to help pay his legal fees after he was charged with historical sexual offences. The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said last week it would help Pell with accommodation on his return to Australia to face the charges, but would not foot his legal bills.
One of the most powerful figures in the Vatican and Australia’s most senior Catholic, has been charged by Australian police over historic sex allegations from “multiple complainants.”
Cardinal George Pell, who intends to clear his name, is the Vatican’s treasury minister and the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged with sexual abuse. He said the Pope had granted him a leave of absence to fight the charges.
Victoria’s state police deputy commissioner Shane Patton told the media: “Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences”
The extent of the charges the senior Vatican cardinal is facing has not been revealed by police. However, according to Patton, “there are multiple complainants relating to those charges.”
There might be up to 10 alleged victims, Australian news website News.com.au reports, adding that they were minors at the time of the alleged assaults and are now aged from their late 20s to their early 50s.
The allegations are believed to stretch from the time that Pell was a priest in the Australian town of Ballarat to when he was Archbishop of Melbourne. It is alleged that the cardinal groomed boys at a swimming pool in Ballarat in the 1970s and committed sexual assaults at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, according to The Australian.
The cardinal, who did not admit to any of the alleged offences and has denied reports that have been circulating in the media for months, was charged by summons to appear before a Melbourne court on July 18.
Since 2014, Pell has lived in the Vatican, with which Australia has no extradition treaty, meaning the cardinal could potentially avoid prosecution if he chose not to return to his home country.
However, the Australian Catholic Church said in a statement Thursday that the cardinal “will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name.”
“He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously,” the statement added.
Pell, 76, was promoted to cardinal in 2003 and three years ago he was appointed to serve as the Vatican treasurer, considered to be the third most powerful post behind the Pope.
While it is the first time that formal charges are brought against the clergyman, he was subject of an investigation in the early 2000s after claims emerged that he had molested an altar boy back in the 1960s, The Age reported.
At the time, Pell denied the allegations against him, dubbing them “lies.”
In February, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a report stating that more than 4,000 children, mostly boys, have been allegedly sexually abused by Catholic priests in Australia over a period of decades.
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