Petition to defrock Cardinal George Pell stands at 45,000 signatures and counting

Petition to defrock Cardinal George Pell stands at 45,000 signatures and counting

Words by Tom Parker

The petition was created by a clergy abuse survivor of notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

A petition that has been created to defrock Cardinal George Pell of his priesthood duties has amassed 45,000 signatures and counting.

Created by Paul Levey, a victim of abuse from notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, the petition comes in the wake of previously redacted Royal Commission findings regarding Pell’s knowledge of clergy abuse.

When Levey was the age of 13 he was sent to live in the Mortlake presbytery alongside Ridsdale, where he was abused daily for six months.

According to the ABC, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse found that while Pell was aware of a meeting in 1982 that Ridsdale would be relocated from Mortlake because of his alleged sexual abuse of children, there was no evidence that Pell was aware of specific cases of abuses.

“Please, help me get Pell removed from the protection of the Catholic Church in Australia and Rome,” Levey says via the petition. “The Church needs to face survivors and offer fair compensation, not the dismal offers you have made in the past.

“The Pope needs to set an example, showing child abuse and the cover-up of child abuse is not acceptable and will be dealt with by the law of the land, not your canon law.”

Even after Pell was convicted last year, the Church refrained from defrocking him as they awaited the appeals process. But there is precedent to the order – former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick was defrocked in 2019, becoming the first person to resign as a cardinal since 1927.

Sign Paul Levey’s petition here.

If the issues in this piece have raised personal concern, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.