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Pell holds debriefing for Sydney priests

Sydney's Archbishop George Pell delayed planned travel to Rome to hold a three hour meeting with his priests late yesterday at the city's St Mary's Cathedral House.

More than 140 priests turned up to the extraordinary meeting that was called at short notice to give Pell an opportunity to communicate developments in the clergy sex abuse scandal.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the agenda included a review of the events of the past two weeks - the press conferences called, statutory declarations signed, claims and counter-claims involving allegations of hush money, and the confusion surrounding a document which, when misunderstood or mishandled, still suggests the church seeks to buy the silence of its victims of sex abuse.

"We're here to get the official version," said one priest. "It's a de-briefing of sorts, I suppose," said another. Others insisted the meeting was nothing out of the ordinary, just "priestly business".

The Herald reported that almost three hours later they emerged "under an unofficial vow of silence few were inclined to break".

Apology as support grows (Catholic Weekly)
Pell's past a cause of church's inept response to abuse (Chris McGillion, SMH)
Loss of faith (60 Minutes transcript)


13 Jun 2002