Melbourne’s new Catholic Archbishop has used his Easter message to acknowledge the church seems “shattered” and “wounded” after a year in which Cardinal George Pell was jailed for sexually abusing two choirboys.
Archbishop Peter Comensoli did not mention his predecessor by name, but spoke of how the Melbourne church had been “walking through loss and grief”.
He said the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection was a reminder of new possibilities.
“Our way ahead with Him does not mean a rejection of our past, but a transfiguration of it. Jesus is our hope of a new path,” Archbishop Comensoli said.
“As shattered and as wounded as our local Church can seem, the Risen Lord, in his gloriously wounded body, is inviting us to share in his life and to walk with him.”
“This Easter, all of us are being invited to taste something of this joy of the Resurrection, to look on Jesus’s resurrected wounds and see hope for ourselves and for the world.”
Pell, 77, was jailed for six years last month for abusing two choirboys inside St Patrick’s Cathedral when he was archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
The cardinal, once the third most powerful man in the Vatican, is the most senior Catholic to have been convicted in the wave of clerical sexual abuse scandals that have spanned the globe.
Pell continues to deny he sexually abused the boys and has lodged an appeal against his conviction on three grounds, including that the jury verdict was unreasonable.
Archbishop Comensoli was appointed head of the Melbourne Archdiocese in June last year.
In February, after the verdict against Pell became public, Archbishop Comensoli described him as a longtime friend and a “good teacher” and said he would visit him in jail.
But he said he could separate his friendship with Pell from his responsibilities as Archbishop, including to reach out to the victims of sexual abuse.