Strip Cardinal George Pell of his Order of Australia.

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As a child, I sang at St Pats at Christmas and would still head there in times of turmoil. My Uncle sandblasted the Cathedral’s distinctive bluestone clean, none of us knowing what was what had happened inside during Cardinal Pell’s rule. But now we do - George Pell is guilty of sexual abuse. In addition to whatever sentence the judge hands down, I believe Cardinal Pell should be stripped of his Companion of the Order of Australia medal.

There must come a time when we protect the abused and not the abusers. Part of that must be removing abusers’ power and prestige, like removing an honour Pell does not (and arguably never has) deserved. In 2005, John Howard gave Pell this power and prestige by awarding him honours for his service to the Catholic Church and supporting “matters of an ethical and spiritual nature, to education and social justice”. There is no honour, ethics, spirituality, education or social justice in sexually abusing minors.

Do we want to live in a country where a convicted sexual abuser, one who oversaw a system that denied countless sex abuse victims justice, can retain one of the country’s highest honours?

Pell does no honour to the people of Australia. It’s time we removed his Companion of the Order of Australia. Let’s stand with survivors of sexual abuse and fight to remove power and accolades from their abusers.

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