Rome, Italy, Mar 3, 2016 / 21:01 pm
Cardinal George Pell and a dozen survivors of clerical sex abuse met in Rome on Thursday, where they shared an emotional encounter and drafted a joint statement committing to work toward peace and healing.
"I just met with about a dozen of the Ballarat survivors, support people and officials and heard each of their stories and of their sufferings. It was hard; an honest and occasionally emotional meeting," Cardinal Pell, who is prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, said in the March 3 statement.
Cardinal Pell read the statement aloud to reporters outside Rome's Hotel Quirinale, where for the past four days he has been giving his testimony before Australia's Royal Commission investigating institutional responses to child sex abuse cases.
He assured his commitment to working with members of the survivors group, many of whose families he knows from his time as a priest in Ballarat, a city in Australia's state of Victoria.