BALLARAT'S Cardinal Pell has vowed to publicly assist survivors to make the city a leading healing centre for victims impacted by the Catholic Church's scourge of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.
In an unprecedented move, Cardinal Pell publicly addressed the media outside the Quirinale Hotel in Rome after an emotional two hour meeting with Ballarat survivors.
"I've heard each of their stories and of their suffering," Cardinal Pell said.
"It was hard and honest and occasionally emotional meeting. I am committed to working with these people from Ballarat and surrounding areas. I know many of their families and I know of the goodness of so many people in Catholic Ballarat. A goodness which is not extinguished by the evil that was done. We all want try to make things better actually and on the ground. Especially for the survivors and their families"
Cardinal Pell made an impassioned promise to work with the group of survivors and agencies in Rome, especially the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
"One suicide is too many and there have many such tragic suicides," Cardinal Pell said.
"I commit myself to working with the group to try to stop this so that suicide is not seen as an option for those who are suffering."Cardinal Pell
"I commit myself to working with the group to try to stop this so that suicide is not seen as an option for those who are suffering."
Cardinal Pell said despite the 16,000 kilometres between Rome and Ballarat he would help victims make the city a global model for "healing and peace."
"I shouldn't promise what is impossible," Cardinal Pell said. "I do want it known that I support the work of a feasibility study for a research centre to enhance healing and improve protecting of children."
He said the Catholic community in the Ballarat diocese was known for its "loyalty and charity" and he urged them to continue to cooperate with survivors to improve the situation.
"I owe a lot to the people and community of Ballarat," Cardinal Pell said.
"I acknowledge that with deep gratitude.It would be marvellous if our city became effective centre for the example of practical help for all those wounded by the scourge of sexual abuse."