There have been two responses from Rome to media coverage of the criticism of Cardinal George Pell made by a British member of the Pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, Peter Saunders. (The story is dealt with by CV Comment here, in an article by CV Coordinator Austen Ivereigh here, and in his interview with Australia’s ABC Radio here.)
The first is a statement by Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman:
The statement made by Mr. Peter Saunders (one of the 17 members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors) during a television broadcast was evidently given in an entirely personal way and not on behalf of the Commission, which is not competent to investigate or to pronounce specific judgements on individual cases.
Moreover, Cardinal George Pell has always responded carefully and thoroughly to the accusations and questions posed by the competent Australian authorities, and his position has been made known again in recent days by a public declaration on his part, which must be considered reliable and worthy of respect and attention.
The second is a statement from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors:
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as mandated by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has no jurisdiction to comment on individual cases or inquiries.
Regarding Australia’s Royal Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Child Sex Abuse, all appropriate questions are being dealt with by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council in Australia, which is coordinating the local churches’ response to the Royal Commission’s findings.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors remains dedicated to its mission as outlined in the recently approved provisional Statutes, which is to help the Church worldwide protect minors and make certain that the interests of abuse survivors and victims’ are paramount.
To this ends the Commission considers it essential that those in positions of authority in the Church respond promptly, transparently and with the clear intent of enabling justice to be achieved.