There was a moment during Cardinal George Pell's evidence that stunned ACT child abuse campaigner Damian De Marco.
Early in his first day back at the royal commission, Cardinal Pell referred to the Catholic Church's policy of following "the law of the land", or acting only in accordance with the laws of each nation.
For Mr De Marco, a former Marist College Canberra student who has bravely become the ACT's very public face of the Catholic abuse scandal, that comment went to the root of the flawed culture plaguing the church.
It went, he said, to the cause of the silence, the cover-ups, and the repeated failure of the church not to root out paedophiles within its ranks.
Many countries across the globe still did not have mandatory reporting regimes for clergy.
Mr De Marco said that meant following the "law of the land" did not oblige Catholic members to report abuse as they become aware of it.
"So basically they're saying they will continue to conceal it unless they're forced to report," he said.
"This is the core of the problem ... that they say 'we are clergy, it is not our responsibility to report. We are a law unto ourselves and we will not report unless we are forced to'."
"Here we are in 2016, with everything that's happened, and they still don't get it."
Cardinal Pell's long-awaited evidence to the royal commission saw him concede the handling of the paedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale was a "catastrophe", and that he was not "here to defend the indefensible".
He also agreed he had heard rumours about clergy members committing abuse since the 1970s, but was inclined at the time to believe priests who denied such abuse.
In other aspects of his evidence, Cardinal Pell said he could not recall specifics, and said his memory was not infallible.
Another victim of abuse at Marist College Canberra, Nicholas Quaine, told Fairfax Media that Cardinal Pell's instinct appeared now to be to protect himself.
"He admits to those things that can no longer be denied, but continues to refuse to take any personal blame," he said.
Mr Quaine was repeatedly abused at the hands of Brother John "Kostka" Chute, during his time at Marist in the 1970s and 1980s.
He said he would not "hold his breath" to see whether the next three days of evidence wouldreveal whether Cardinal Pell protected clergy members.
"If Pell has survived until now it is because he is very careful about not leaving any documented trace of his knowledge and involvement in such matters," he said.
"And his evasive responses will never be enough to incriminate himself."
He said the saddest thing about the current scrutiny and exposure of Catholic abuse was that it was spurred by outside pressure, rather than from complaints of victims and their families.
"It needed lawyers and pay-outs, mounting liability insurance premiums and royal commissions," he said.
"Why could the clergy not cleanse itself? In not being able to do so, it has suffered enormously and can no longer claim any moral authority."
Cardinal Pell's evidence continues on Tuesday morning.