The following statement was issued August 21, 2019, by Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli of Melbourne following the Victoria Court of Appeals ruling against Cardinal Pell’s appeal of his abuse conviction:
Today the Victorian Court of Appeal, in a 2:1 majority decision, dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for assaulting two choir boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996 and early 1997.
I respectfully receive the Court’s decision, and I encourage everyone to do the same. That there have been two trials, and now today’s decision in the Court of Appeal, the complexity of the search for the truth in this matter has tested many, and may very well continue to do so.
My thoughts and prayers are with the man who brought this matter before the courts. I humbly acknowledge it has been a challenging time for him, and I stand ready to offer pastoral and spiritual help, should he seek it.
In Christian charity, I will ensure that Cardinal Pell is provided pastoral and spiritual support while he serves the remainder of his sentence, according to the teaching and example of Jesus to visit those in prison.
I also want to acknowledge with gratitude the people who have been involved in this case. For many, this has been a demanding and distressing experience.
To the faithful of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, I want to acknowledge the deep impact today’s decision will have for you. My prayer is that all of us might reach out to each other in faith, hope and love, as I do for you at this moment.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne continues to work with survivors to offer support for their healing, recovery and well-being. This is based upon an Archdiocesan-wide commitment to build a culture of respect and safety for all, and to reach out to those who courageously bring forward their stories.
I re-commit myself and the Archdiocese to a culture that listens, that seeks to bring justice and healing, and that protects children and vulnerable people.