George Pell, Aide to Pope, Is Put on Defensive in Abuse Inquiry

Source: The New York Times

ROME — When Pope Francis was chosen to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics three years ago, he pledged to reform antiquated and troubledVatican institutions.

He formed an inner circle of nine cardinals as his closest advisers, appointed a commission to deal with sexual abuse of children by the clergy, and another to reform the Vatican’s tangled finances. To pilot the financial reform and serve in his inner circle, Francis chose Cardinal George Pell.

So it was a matter of no small discomfort to the Vatican, and fascination to the world’s media, to see Cardinal Pell testify late Sunday — via video link from a hotel in Rome — before an Australian Royal Commission looking into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

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