No questions have been asked about Cardinal George Pell's time in Ballarat in the 1970s at the state government inquiry into institutionalised child abuse.
Cardinal Pell was in Ballarat at the same time as disgraced paedophiles Gerald Ridsdale, Edward Dowlan, Robert Best and Stephen Farrell.
It was expected Cardinal Pell would be asked what he knew of their child sexual abuse but was not quizzed at all.
Instead, he was asked to publicly denounce former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns.
Cardinal Pell told the inquiry he would take the request by committee member Andrea Coote on notice.
Ms Coote's request came after former Pope Benedict said there were grave judgement errors and leadership failures in the treatment of Irish paedophile priests.
She asked Cardinal Pell if he would be prepared to issue the same strong statement.
"Will you publicly denounce both the former Archbishop of Melbourne Frank Little and the former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns for harbouring paedophiles, knowing they were abusing children?" Ms Cote said.
Cardinal Pell said the situation in Ireland was not the same as Australia.
"The gravity of dereliction there is not the same as here," Cardinal Pell said.
However, he said he would take Ms Coote's question on notice but also stated he did not understand some of Bishop Mulkearns' actions, including destroying documentation about child sex abuse cases and moving paedophile priests around parishes.
He said he believed the actions of both Archbishop Little and Bishop Mulkearns were aimed at protecting the church from scandal.
Cardinal Pell also said it was a mistake to accompany disgraced paedophile Gerald Ridsdale to Melbourne Magistrates Court 20 years ago to face 30 child abuse charges.
"Twenty years ago I knew there were a significant number of offences but I didn't know the details of the offences."
He said Ridsdale's lawyer asked if he would walk to court with him and he said yes.
"I've realised this was a mistake."
Cardinal Pell also said he was not a close friend of Ridsdale.