By Michelle Brown
Cardinal George Pell will today give evidence to the child abuse royal commission via video link from Rome about the Catholic Church’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse.
His sister told waiting reporters Cardinal Pell had spent the day resting and praying ahead of his appearance.
Abuse survivors who travelled from Australia had an emotional visit to the Vatican area but did not go inside, saying they did not want to listen to the Pope’s Sunday address.
Speaking near the Vatican, survivor Dominic Ridsdale said he hoped their visit would help lift the “darkness” lingering over the town of Ballarat, where decades of abuse took place.
“We want the truth. We want to be able to save more lives from too many suicides in Ballarat,” he said.
“Hopefully by us being here it’ll lift a dark cloud off Ballarat, we don’t want anybody looking at it as a dark place.”
Up to 160 people could fill the room at the Quirinale Hotel when the hearing gets underway at 10:00pm in Rome (8:00am AEDT).
Cardinal Pell has been called to give evidence about two case studies — number 28 about the Diocese of Ballarat and number 35 about the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
The time frame for the case studies stretches from the 1960s through to the 1990s.
Case Study 28 deals with the response of the Christian Brothers in Victoria to allegations of child sexual abuse involving six brothers — all of whom spent time working at schools in the Diocese of Ballarat.
The inquiry has already heard about the impact of abuse on survivors and the knowledge the Bishop and priests of Ballarat had of allegations of church abuse.
It has also heard about the practice of moving offending priests from one parish to another.