- Oct 28, 2020
While Pope Francis was away in Asia, the Vatican removed the number two official at the Vatican bank without any explanation. The episode forms part of a broader perceived crisis in the pope’s financial reform.
Australian Church leaders met with Vatican officials last week about a number of topics, including the ongoing investigations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the relationship between the Church and society as a whole, the re-establishment of trust following the abuse crisis, and a call for greater participation of laypersons in decision-making roles in the Church in Australia.
In a court hearing on Friday, an attorney for Australian Cardinal George Pell described abuse charges against the 76-year-old prelate as “impossible.” A four-week hearing has been scheduled beginning next March 5 to determine if the claims of “historical sexual offenses” against Pell are sufficient to proceed to a full trial.
Breaking a three-month silence, the Vatican’s former Auditor General claimed Saturday he was forced out in June by a “frame-job” engineered by an old guard hostile to reform, while two senior Vatican officials insisted they have “overwhelming evidence” that Libero Milone violated Vatican laws by illegitimately spying on people, including superiors and people in his own office.
Over the years, Australia’s sexual abuse crisis has been one of the most infamous within the Church. A recent report from the Australian Royal Commission found that seven percent of Catholic priests in Australia serving between 1950-2009 have been accused of child sex crimes. Archbishop Mark Coleridge says the Church still has “a long way to go.”
Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse says the right to practice one’s religious beliefs “must accommodate civil society’s obligation to provide for the safety of all and, in particular, children’s safety from sexual abuse.” Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said in a statement the inviolability of the seal of confession is a “fundamental part of the freedom of religion.”