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Abuse victims keen to meet Pell

Clergy abuse victims Andrew Collins, Peter Blenkiron and David Ridsdale talk to reporters in Melbourne in December 2015. AAP Image/Megan Neil

Clergy abuse victims Andrew Collins, Peter Blenkiron and David Ridsdale talk to reporters in Melbourne in December 2015. AAP Image/Megan Neil

Melbourne [AAP]

Ballarat clergy abuse victims hope they can watch Cardinal George Pell as he gives testimony from Rome in the child abuse royal commission.

Cardinal Pell has offered to ‘meet with and listen to victims and express his ongoing support’ after giving evidence at the child abuse royal commission via videolink in Rome.

David Ridsdale, a member of the Ballarat Child Abuse Survivors group that wants to go to Rome to hear the evidence, says a meeting with the cardinal would be pleasant.

But he said he knew no survivor who had labelled any dealing with Cardinal Pell or the Church-instigated Melbourne Response ‘a positive experience’.

‘I’ve yet to meet one,’ Mr Ridsdale told AAP on Thursday.

‘So that sounds to me like Cardinal Pell is blowing his own trumpet … He chooses to ignore the fact people keep saying the [Church’s] responses were inadequate.’

The commission has agreed to allow Cardinal Pell to give evidence from Rome on health grounds but is seeking a suitable venue.

If one is found, a crowdfunding campaign which has raised more than $180,000 so far will pay for a group of 15 to attend the cardinal’s testimony, due to begin February 29.

The cardinal’s office says he’s ‘anxious to present the facts without further delays’.

Three days have been set aside for Cardinal Pell’s third royal commission appearance, in which he’ll be questioned about child abuse in the Ballarat diocese and Melbourne archdiocese.


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