George Weigel Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center has followed up his previous condemnation of Cardinal Pell with the following bringing into question Australia’s system of justice.
Has it occurred to anyone else debating the perverse verdict rendered against Cardinal George Pell, which convicted him of “historic sexual abuse,” that the cardinal did not have to return to his native Australia to face trial? As a member of the College of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and a Vatican official, Pell holds a Vatican diplomatic passport and citizenship of Vatican City State. Were he guilty, he could have stayed put in the extraterritorial safety of the Vatican enclave, untouchable by the Australian authorities. But because Cardinal Pell knows he is innocent, he was determined to go home to defend his honor—and, in a broader sense, to defend his decades of work rebuilding the Catholic Church in Australia, the living parts of which owe a great deal to his leadership and courage.
Cardinal Pell and I have been friends for over fifty years, and in the past two and a half decades of that friendship I have been appalled at the calumnies to which he has been subjected, in both the hyper-secularist Australian media and in Church circles determined to hang on to their dreams of post–Vatican II revolution.