Melissa Cunningham and Matthew Dixon, Victims left reeling from shock Cardinal George Pell decision, Great Lakes Advocate

CLERGY sex abuse survivors have been left reeling by news Cardinal George Pell will not be appearing at the child sex abuse inquiry next week.

Victim and nephew of disgraced priest Gerard Ridsdale said the lives of survivors had been thrown into turmoil again.

He called for Cardinal Pell to “come and face the music” like the survivors have had been forced to do for years.

Cardinal Pell is unable to make his anticipated appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse next week due to ill health, his lawyer has said.

Cardinal Pell’s counsel, Allan Myers QC, told the hearing on Friday that Cardinal Pell, who is based in Rome, had “serious health conditions” and would be unable to fly to Australia to appear at the inquiry on Wednesday.

Mr Ridsdale said victims had been forced to carry the burden for too long.

“The truth is we shouldn’t have to have do this,” he said. “We should not be the people leading this, we should not be the people making sure future generations don’t get abused. That is supposed to be the job of social leaders.”

He said victims had been left in limbo with uncertainty surrounding whether Cardinal Pell will appear.

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“This is just dragging myself and every other survivor through it all again,” he said. “I thought I was actually going to be able to go home and get on with my life.”

Sexual abuse survivor Steven Woods said the courtroom reacted furiously to the news of the delay with victims crying out.

“I’m f****ing outraged, we are thoroughly disgusted,” Mr Woods said.

“It is typical of old man to say they are too ill to appear. When are the politicians stand up for the rule of law and make religions accountable for the crimes they have covered up?”

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