Fr Frank Brennan was awarded the Australian Catholic Press Association’s 2022 prize for best feature writing for ‘Anatomy of a Travesty’. He wrote the following on his Facebook page, pointing out the reprisals for any Catholic of standing who dared to defend Cardinal Pell.
My 8-page feature on the acquittal of Cardinal George Pell, ‘Anatomy of a Travesty,’ has won the Australian Catholic Press Association’s 2022 prize for best feature writing. I am delighted that the piece was judged worthy of an award. It was always difficult for anyone in the Catholic Church to write publicly about this matter.
The Pell saga was an appalling police sting operation protracted by grossly erroneous judicial reasoning by Victoria’s two most senior judges. It took all seven of the High Court judges to put things right. Hopefully lessons have been learnt by the police and the Victorian DPP so that complainants and those accused of child sexual abuse can be better served by the criminal justice system.
The demonstrable failures of the Victorian criminal justice system did nothing to help the efforts being made to address the trauma of institutional child sexual abuse. As a society we need to do better, and the legal system needs to play its part.
I hope my writing has contributed to more just outcomes, sparing complainants and accused persons unnecessary added trauma and hurt.
The feature article is the last chapter in my book ‘Observations on the Pell Proceedings’ (Connor Court 2021) which is dedicated to ‘those who seek truth, justice and healing and to those who have been denied them’.