‘Between coincidence and imitation: what would the Pell jurors have made of this?’

The Australian’s Cut and Paste rubric (11 April 2019) ran the following reports and comments together. I suggest the scrutiny of the Pell conviction has only just begun.

Keith Windschuttle in Quadrant magazine on the George Pell child sex abuse case, April 7:

… what is the probability that the evidence given in Australia was not an authentic account of what happened in Melbourne but, rather, a copy of a story that had already been aired in print and online? Here are the similarities between the American (2011 Engelhardt case) and the Australian allegations: Both cases of sexual abuse occurred in the sacristy after Sunday Mass. In both cases, the victims had been drinking wine they found in the sacristy … Both boys were made to kneel before the priest. Both boys were made to perform fellatio on the priest. Both the alleged victims were the only witnesses who testified for the prosecution in court … This does not mean the (Pell) accuser (Victim J) was deliberately making it up. He might have come to persuade himself the events actually happened, or some therapist might have helped him “recover” his memory.

The 2011 claim by a former Philadelphia altar boy, “Billy Doe”, may have been a fabrication, Ralph Cipriano, Newsweek, January 20, 2016:

Catholic Guilt? The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy Behind a Lurid Rape Case

Priests, altar boys and wine — could this be a meme? CatholiCity review of the 2008 film Doubt, February 20, 2009:

The drama focuses on the question of whether Father Flynn (Philip Seymour 

Hoffman) is worthy of the admiration so easily extended to him by the altar boys … or is guilty, as suspected by Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), of being the worst type of predator … (It turns on) circumstantial evidence: Fr Flynn’s calling the young Donald Muller one day … to come to the rectory; the boy’s returning to class looking upset and with alcohol on his breath … When they confront Fr Flynn, the priest first expresses his indignation … and then gives a partial explanation. He called Donald over to speak about the young boy’s having drunk some of the altar wine earlier in the sacristy. He didn’t inform the sisters because he knew it would result in his being expelled from the altar serving corps.

There’s a long history of anti-Catholic stories about depraved priests and altar boys. American Greatness, Michael Walsh, August 15, 2018:

The priapic cleric has been a staple of creative pornography since Rabelais and de Sade, and the list of sins attributable to the popes alone would make a harlot blush.

But such stories may sometimes (or often?) be a reliable guide to an evil reality. RTE news, June 24, 2013:

A former Catholic priest, who confessed to sexually assaulting two altar boys in the sacristy of a Co Cork church over 20 years ago, has been imprisoned for 12 months.

Unanimous jury verdict in Pell’s case, December 11 last year: