Pell’s decision to face charges in Australia was seen as another positive signal by some Vatican watchers.“These facts pertain to abuses that have been too long underestimated by the church’s mentality, and it’s only fair that they should not be downplayed,” said Andrea Tornielli, a Vatican journalist who has co-written a book with Francis.In the United States and elsewhere, groups continue to press for full accountability within the Catholic Church for alleged abuse of children and others going back generations.

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Speaking to reporters at the Vatican, a subdued Pell denounced “relentless character assassination” in the media. Australian police earlier Thursday announced that Pell faces multiple charges of “historical sexual assault offenses,” that nation’s term for charges related to past conduct.

Australian officials did not offer details of the alleged crimes, saying that Pell has a right to due process.

To be sure, that figure is modest for a near $1.5 trillion economy, but ANZ's calculations do not yet include the impact of a favorable decision on travel both in and out of Australia.

What a new PM could mean for Australia's economy "This figure does not include honeymoon expenditure, which would add to the stimulus – especially if foreign couples come to Australia to marry or if Australians are encouraged to stay at home (a trend that may be encouraged by the depreciating Australian dollar)," ANZ said.

“The pope certainly does understand the effects of abuse, the horrible damage it does to victims, and he has made an effort.

But on the other hand, we haven’t seen an enormous amount of change,” said Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of clergy sexual abuse who quit Francis’s commission in March because she was frustrated that few reforms were taking hold.One victim of sexual abuse in Ballarat, Peter Blenkiron, said Thursday that he did not feel any happiness about the charges against Pell, who oversaw education in the district in 1974, when Blenkiron was abused by a member of the church’s Christian Brothers order who was later convicted of pedophilia.[Pell grilled last year about “absolutely scandalous” abuse over the decades] “There are so many families that have lost a parent and brothers and sisters. Critics said they were unsure whether any changes will take hold.“I was more hopeful a few years ago than I was now, because I’ve seen close up how difficult it is to get change,” Collins said.“It can’t all be laid at the feet of Pope Francis.” Defenders of Francis say he has held priests accountable, including as recently as last month, when he defrocked, or ejected from the priesthood, an Italian man, Mauro Inzoli, who was convicted of child sex abuse in an Italian court. Still, perhaps emblematic of Francis’s record, the decision came only after he had reversed a previous move by Pope Benedict XVI to defrock the priest.But they also said that the cardinal’s ability to remain in his post until Thursday, despite controversy about his role in the Australian church’s years of abuse, was a sign that Francis had not fully reckoned with one of the most painful chapters in modern Catholic history.