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Pell joins calls for Hollingworth rethink

Sydney's Archbishop George Pell yesterday encouraged Australia's embattled Governor-General Dr Peter Hollingworth to seriously consider his position, but said there does not appear to be "sufficient ground for dismissal".

Already under pressure to resign after admitting mishandling cases of sexual abuse by priests while archbishop of Brisbane, Hollingworth was forced to publicly defend himself against a rape complaint yesterday after legal attempts to hush up the matter failed.

Dr Pell offered his personal support to the Governor-General, but urged him to consider resigning.

A spokesman for Dr Hollingworth said earlier this week that the Governor-General has no intention of standing down, despite increasing calls for him to do so.

"The Governor-General should now consider what is best for Australia, the Anglican Church, himself and his family," he said. "He is in a difficult position. He has my prayers, sympathy and support."

He took the opportunity praised the recent Anglican-sponsored enquiry into sex abuse, describing it as "impartial, thorough and effective, as [he] anticipated it would be ... no white-wash".

Archbishop Pell said: "Last year Archbishop Hollingworth acknowledged that he had made mistakes. This has now been confirmed but he has publicly apologised. He has a made a distinguished contribution to Australian life."

Catholic Communications Sydney

G-G attack a 'crucifixion' (The Australian)
Fresh claims turn feeling in favour of accused G-G (Sydney Morning Herald)
I'm no rapist: Hollingworth (Sydney Morning Herald)
PM told of Hollingworth rape claim (Financial Review)
Hollingworth denies rape (Daily Telegraph)
Hollingworth refuses to step down (ABC 5/5/03)

9 May 2003