In a not-so-shocking development, the Vatican's treasurer has admitted that the Catholic Church did not handle its investigation into child sexual abuse very well. On Sunday, the same night Spotlight (the film about a group of Boston Globe reporters who exposed the systematic cover up of child sex abuse by the Catholic Church in Boston) won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Cardinal George Pell testified via video before Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.
According to NBC News, Pell is the third most powerful clergyman in the Vatican after Pope Francis and the Secretary of State. While not on trial, he was asked to provide insight into his role during the inquiries. "I'm not here to defend the indefensible," he said. "The Church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those, but the Church in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down."
While seriously downplaying the severity of the issue, he went on to say that this is all a reflection of the world we live in. He added, "Unfortunately, original sin is alive and well. There's tendency to evil in the Catholic Church too and sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse but for good or for ill, the church follows the patterns of the societies in which it lives."
He went on to admit that he was more inclined to believe his fellow priests when they denied any wrongdoing. As a result, there were "very, very, very plausible allegations made by responsible people that were not followed up sufficiently." FYI, he once shared a house with Gerald Ridsdale, a priest convicted for abusing more than 50 children over the span of three decades.