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Crean calls for clarification of Pell remarks

Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean has called for the Church to clarify comments by Sydney Archbishop George Pell that abortion was a worse scandal than sexual abuse by priests.

Dr Pell reportedly told 500 young delegates at a World Youth Day forum in Canada that abortion was a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people "because it's (abortion) always a destruction of human life".

Mr Crean said yesterday that, upon learning of Dr Pell's reported remarks, he had sought clarification from the Catholic Church in Sydney as to what was said, but clarification was not forthcoming.

"It has not been able to be clarified so I think that it's important for the church to clarify its position," Mr Crean said in Perth.

"But regardless of the reported comments, the point is that child sex abuse is wrong, and what we need is policies that deal with the victims of the crime ... in a sensitive and compassionate way, and help with their healing."

Mr Crean was speaking after talking today with Perth Anglican Bishop David Murray. The Labor leader said it was an important dialogue towards protecting children from any future abuse.

"I don't say this in any partisan political way because I genuinely believe this is an issue that has to be embraced by the government not just the opposition," he said.

Call for church panel to investigate sexual abuse (30/7/02)
Pell calls abortion a greater crime than sex abuse (29/7/02)


31 Jul 2002