Some of those who have so far signed the online petition said members of their family had been abused by Gerald Ridsdale. “My father was one of his victims who lived a very tormented life, he passed away three years ago after years of drowning his thoughts with alcohol,” one person wrote.
Pell on Wednesday denied the bribery accusations and said he did not try to move Ridsdale between parishes in order to cover up the abuse.
“At no time did I attempt to bribe David Ridsdale or his family or offer any financial inducements for him to be silent. At the time of our discussion the police were already aware of allegations against Gerald Ridsdale and were investigating,” he said in a statement.
Pell said he was “horrified” by survivors’ accounts and described the acts of abuse as “profoundly evil and completely repugnant to me.”
The Australian cardinal, whom Francis brought to Rome to implement reform of the Vatican’s finances, said he would respond to any requests from investigators with further written statements.
Pell gave video testimony to the commission in August, during which he said the church should not be held responsible for the actions of clergy.