Pell’s successor defends cardinal’s record

Criticism of Cardinal George Pell’s record on abuse is “tremendously unfair”, according to his successor in Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher. 

Pointing out that the cardinal was the first Australian bishop to take real steps to tackle abuse, Dr Fisher speculated that a large part of Cardinal’s Pell’s problem is that for a long time he was synonymous with the Australian Church, so that for those who would like a “big name to go down”, the cardinal is the obvious scalp to hunt.

Cardinal Pell also made enemies, the archbishop explained, through taking a strongly conservative stand on a range of issues, and many of these “would be happy to see him humbled” he said.

Nonetheless, he insisted, the cardinal has Pope Francis’ backing, and will keep his job as Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, regardless of what happens in the next stage of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.