VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's new No. 3 has accused Holy See officials of downplaying the clerical sex abuse scandal in the 1990s, saying they were generally skeptical of victims and often considered them "enemies of the church."
Cardinal George Pell made the comments Monday testifying before Australia's federal inquiry into allegations of child sex abuse in state and religious institutions. Next week he takes up his new job as prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat of the Economy, Pope Francis' new finance ministry.
Pell said the Australian church by 1995 was far ahead of the Vatican in dealing with abuse: "The attitude of some people in the Vatican was that if accusations were being made against priests, they were made exclusively or at least predominantly by enemies of the church to make trouble."