George Pell says he was wrong to support paedophile priest

CARDINAL George Pell has conceded it was "a mistake" for him to appear in court during the trial of convicted Victorian paedophile Father Gerard Ridsdale in the 1990s.

In 1994, Father Ridsdale was jailed after pleading guilty to numerous charges of sexually abusing children in his care in Victoria.

During the trial Cardinal Pell, the Australia's only Archbishop in the Catholic Church, appeared in court supporting Father Ridsdale.

He said at the time Father Ridsdale had committed "terrible mistakes", but did not refer to the criminality of Ridsdale's actions.

On Monday, Cardinal Pell appeared before the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse in the church.

He said he had appeared in court several times in support of others who had asked him, and it was within the bounds of justice for him to appear.

Cardinal Pell said he regretted he had caused any angst amongst Father Ridsdale's victims.

He said he know understood "how upsetting that may be", saying he did not realise his support for Father Ridsdale would be taken as hostility to the victims.

The inquiry continues.

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