Cardinal Timothy Dolan has voiced his support for Cardinal George Pell who is going to Australia to face child abuse charges.
From New York, Cardinal Dolan is a long-time friend of the embattled Cardinal Pell, saying his cooperation with authorities “only shows the mettle of a great man”.
“I feel terribly sad for my good friend Cardinal George Pell, sad for him and sad with him. I want to be very supportive, because I have immense admiration for him,” Dolan said, “I admire him, and I want to stick with him.
“But the most basic thing victim-survivors have always asked for is justice, and justice means getting to the truth of what happened. In this case, I’m praying, and I really believe, that the truth will vindicate Cardinal Pell,” he said.
The Vatican official has denied the charges, and is returning to Australia to fight them.
It has been reported that “people assisting the cardinal” have set up a fund after the Sydney archdiocese declared they would not be paying for his defence. However they will assist by providing his accommodation as well as other supports.
The cardinal has been the subject of several allegations including sexual abuse cover-ups and child abuse since the 1960s.
In a Vatican news conference the 76-year-old denied the charges, saying: “I am looking forward finally to having my day in court. I repeat that I am innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”
Cardinal Pell was interviewed by detectives in the Vatican last year after he said his poor health would not permit him to travel.
It is believed his doctors are advising him how to manage the journey back to Australia.
He will appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on July 18.