Federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer says Australia’s most senior Catholic George Pell should return to Australia immediately to face victims of sexual abuse.
Mr Palmer said George Pell, who holds a senior position presiding over the Vatican’s finances, must accept responsibility and front the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.
“Cardinal Pell must return to Australia and provide details of any information or knowledge of paedophilia in the Catholic priesthood,” he said.
“His actions during his leadership tenure in Australia can best be described as negligent. He has failed those in his care.”
Mr Palmer said The Vatican must release all documents and knowledge in relation to the actions of the Catholic Church in Australia.
“It is time we moved away from niceties and dealt with the harsh reality that criminals within the church should be jailed and those who have allowed them to commit their crimes unpunished should also face the full weight of the law,’’ Mr Palmer said.
Mr Palmer also said it was time for the Catholic Church to consider abandoning its celibacy vow for priests.
“There is growing evidence that paedophilia in the church is linked to the vow of celibacy,’’ he said.
“The church has no greater responsibility than to protect its children.”
As well as being a risk for children, Mr Palmer said it also denied priests basic human rights.
“You cannot legally deprive a person the right to enter the priesthood because they refuse the vow of celibacy. Celibacy takes away from priests the human right to reproduce,’’ he said.