Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal George Pell last year spoke at the same conference as a disgraced Melbourne deacon whom Cardinal Pell had previously tried to laicise for suspected sexual misbehaviour, reports The Age.
Cardinal Pell was the keynote speaker at a small liturgical conference in Ireland, attended by about 100 people in County Cork last July. Another speaker was Dr Scott "Alcuin" Reid, who was the subject of claims of inappropriate and aggressive sexual advances in the Melbourne Archdiocese from the mid-80s to 1991.
As Melbourne archbishop in the 1990s, Cardinal Pell had "strenuously and repeatedly" asked Dr Reid to submit voluntarily to "laicisation". The Age reports it knows of one man who said in the 1980s he had been "physically forced" to comply with Dr Reid's sexual demands and that this complaint was conveyed by the victim to Cardinal Pell at the time.
This has not been confirmed, and his office did not respond to the claim.
In a statement to The Age yesterday, Cardinal Pell said it was "not surprising Dr Reid was also ... invited ... given his considerable expertise".
The Age understands that the current Melbourne Archbishop, Denis Hart, made concerted but unsuccessful attempts to find a witness willing to partake in a church law process that would compel the "defrocking" of Dr Reid. The Archdiocese says it has received no formal complaints about him, under its Melbourne Response protocol on clerical abuse claims.
The organiser of the Second International Liturgy Conference in Ireland, Terry Pender, told The Age that Cardinal Pell was the keynote speaker and celebrated Mass on both days of the meeting, and that she had never heard of any church sanctions or allegations against Dr Reid.
Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had contributed a 2000-word foreword for a book Dr Reid wrote in 2004. An earlier book by Dr Reid had a foreword from senior Vatican Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos.
Three successive Melbourne archbishops have asked Dr Reid to submit voluntarily to defrocking. He has refused. In 1991, Dr Reid had his canonical faculties removed by the archdiocese. Last year a French bishop made Dr Reid a deacon in his diocese.
Pell and 'sex deacon' at conference (The Age)