Cardinal Pell is taking much heat for his comments on administrative accountability on sex abusers. Via Josephine KcKenna at RNS:
Using a hypothetical example, Pell said the church was no more responsible for cases of child abuse carried out by church figures than a trucking company would be if it employed a driver who molested women.
“It would not be appropriate, because it’s contrary to the policy, for the ownership, leadership of that company to be held responsible,” Pell told the inquiry. “Similarly with the church and the head of any other organization.
“It is, I think, not appropriate for legal culpability to be foisted on the authority figure.”
The analogy does not quite hold true. More accurate would be that if the trucking owners found that when one if its drivers attacked women on one route, they would simply extract a promise from him not to do it again, then transfer him to a different route to prey on new victims.
So … Cardinal Pell does not understand the scandal facing the bishops and their institution, it would seem. Does that make him unfit in his roles as a churchman? Unfit to be a bishop, I would say yes. He’s not quite on target as far as a good sense of culpability and sin. Is there a problem with his moral judgment? That’s a more difficult question, but we have to admit the question is actually in play.
We can say Cardinal Pell’s judgment on sex abuse and cover-up is impaired. Might that mean his judgment with regard to finances and administration is damaged? Outside of the hierarchy, I’d say there are significant numbers of people who might say yes.