"POPE FRANCIS, who pledged a policy of “zero tolerance” for sexually abusive clergy in the Catholic Church, has turned out to be all too tolerant. On Thursday, Australian police brought criminal charges against Cardinal George Pell, a top Vatican official and kitchen- cabinet adviser to the pope, for multiple alleged incidents of sexual assault.
The charges against Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief and the pope’s hand-picked agent of administrative reform, shook the Holy See, notwithstanding long-standing allegations that he ignored, dismissed and excused cases of sexual misconduct during his pre-Vatican years as a priest and church official in Australia. That included the crimes of a notorious pedophile priest with whom Cardinal Pell shared a house for two years in the 1970s.
In fact, while Cardinal Pell is the rare Vatican princeling to be charged with sexual misconduct, he was one of two members of the Vatican’s nine-member Council of Cardinals alleged to have turned a blind eye to child sex abuse undertaken by priests once under his jurisdiction. The other is Cardinal Javier Errázuriz, formerly the archbishop of Santiago, Chile. Both men were elevated to the council by Pope Francis Cardinal Pell, 76, who denied the sexual assault charges, was granted a leave of absence to return to Australia, where he said he would contest the charges...."