“I was more hopeful a few years ago than I was now, because I’ve seen close up how difficult it is to get change,” Collins said.
“It can’t all be laid at the feet of Pope Francis.” Defenders of Francis say he has held priests accountable, including as recently as last month, when he defrocked, or ejected from the priesthood, an Italian man, Mauro Inzoli, who was convicted of child sex abuse in an Italian court. Still, perhaps emblematic of Francis’s record, the decision came only after he had reversed a previous move by Pope Benedict XVI to defrock the priest.
“Francis has done some very important things,” said Emiliano Fittipaldi, a journalist who has written about abuse.
“But the fight against pedophilia is not his priority,” Birnbaum reported from Brussels and Patrick reported from Sydney.
He became the highest-ranking Vatican official to be formally accused by law enforcement when Australian police charged him Thursday.
Advocates for victims of child abuse said that allowing Pell to face charges in Australia, rather than keeping him inside the walls of Vatican City, was a major step for a church that might have shielded him in earlier years.
The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.