Church will pay compensation govt thinks proper: Pell
THE Australian Lawyers Alliance has called on the Catholic Church to "put its money where its mouth is" and use its vast wealth to properly compensate victims who fell prey to paedophile priests.
During hearings of the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse in the Church on Monday, Cardinal George Pell accepted the Church could pay victims "proper compensation".
ALA spokesman Dr Andrew Morrison SC said Cardinal Pell told the inquiry the Church would pay whatever compensation the government thought proper, and "he should be taken at his word".
"Governments throughout Australia should immediately make the Church trustees liable for the conduct of the Church and the Church should in turn be held liable for the conduct of its priests," Dr Morrison said.
"The limitation period restrictions on suing should also be lifted."
Dr Morrison agreed with Cardinal Pell that the Church should be no more liable to victims than other institutions, but the Catholic Church was "immune" from law suits due to its "peculiar structure".
"This includes Cardinal George Pell's $30 million residence in Rome paid for by the Roman Catholic Church in Australia.
"It is time that money was devoted to compensating the victims of the cover up that he has now acknowledged occurred," Dr Morrison said.