The Catholic Church in Tasmania has declined to comment on the jail sentence imposed on Cardinal George Pell - a decision described by a victims group as “pathetic”.
Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous said he respectfully declined the opportunity to comment.
Cardinal Pell was sentenced to six years' jail, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months, for sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996 and 1997.
Survivor and Beyond Abuse founder Steve Fisher said the sentence was in the “normal range for pedophiles” but he would have preferred a life sentence.
“The bottom line is that his victims have had a life sentence because of the psychological and emotional damage,” Mr Fisher said.
“Sexual abuse is such a personal matter and it rocks you to the core.
“I’m happy with the jail time but it doesn’t reflect the severity of what he’s done.”
Mr Fisher renewed his call for mandatory sentencing for sexual abuse.
“I commend the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s push for mandatory sentencing and hope that other states follow its lead,” he said.
“Victims get a life sentence.”
Former Catholic priest Julian Punch said the sentence highlighted the need for victims to be heard.
“The victims need to be listened to - the denials have got to stop,” Mr Punch said.
“My hope is that the redress scheme will be honoured but I fear it is being dishonoured by the church.”
Mr Punch said he believed the Pell sentence was “balanced and well-argued”.
“It is excellent that the anonymity of the complainant is being respected,” he said.
“The judge’s statements mentioned the arrogance and that he’s not expressed remorse.
“I hope he (Pell) will contemplate and reflect and prepare himself in the last period of his life on what’s happened and his part in it.”
Mr Punch said he was concerned that there were some in the church who still believed Pell was innocent.
“Some are trying to make a martyr of him,” he said.
“The church needs to be deconstructed because Pell is a victim of the clerical power of the church and its arrogance.