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‘I believe both’: Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli stands by George Pell’s word

The Archbishop of Melbourne has told Neil Mitchell he believes George Pell’s version of events, despite the disgraced Cardinal now losing in two courts.

In a wide-ranging interview, Peter Comensoli said he intends to visit Pell in court.

But it was the below exchange that confused Neil Mitchell and prompted a strong reaction from listeners.

Peter Comensoli: I believe what George has said to me…

Neil Mitchell, interrupting: Which is that he didn’t do it.

Peter Comensoli: …and I also believe that the man who has come forward to share his story of abuse in the setting of the church. Where that sits in terms of the particularities remains this challenging situation that our courts themselves have struggled with.

Neil Mitchell: I’m sorry I don’t understand, do you believe him or not?

Peter Comensoli: Um, I believe the man has been abused, yes.

Neil Mitchell: But not by George Pell?

Peter Comensoli: I believe both.

Neil Mitchell: How can you believe both?

Peter Comensoli: Because our courts put forward a binary option; a binary option says either/or. But I genuinely think that I can take on my knowledge of the man in terms of George Pell and accept what he has said to me. I can also take on what I’ve heard of ‘J’ and what he’s said in terms of abuse.

Click PLAY to hear that exchange (scroll down to watch the full interview)

Click PLAY to watch the full interview

Click PLAY to hear the full interview