One of Pope Francis' top advisers has told an Australian inquiry that he should have done more to ensure a suspected pedophile cleric did not continue to abuse children.

Australian Cardinal George Pell told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this week that as an assistant priest in the Australian city of Ballarat in the 1970s, he had heard rumors that a local Christians Brothers school teacher Edward Dowlan could be involved in "pedophilia activity."

Pell testified that he raised his concerns with the St. Patricks' College chaplain who told Pell that the Christian Brothers order was "dealing with" the allegations. Dowlan was later removed from the school.

Pell, now the pope's top financial adviser, told the inquiry on Wednesday that he should have "ensured that the matter was properly treated."