George Weigel in his conversation with Patrick Coffin compares the Pell case with the sensational Alfred Dreyfus case that occurred in France 1894-1996. It is a just comparison.
The sentence of Cardinal Pell has, as expected, sent Australia’s media sewer rats scurrying from their dark infectious holes, crawling over each other to repeat Judge Kidd’s most inflammatory comments.
But it is all a farce.
For one thing, the inflammatory comments are based on a conviction vigorously disputed by appalled legal people around the world. What sort of a dodgy legal system does Australia have?
I wonder how Judge Kidd felt while he was uttering his comments, knowing that Cardinal Pell’s conviction rested on the most flimsy evidence, that he was sentencing an innocent man to jail, perhaps to die in jail, and he was giving support to Australia’s implacable religious and political bigots.
This most egregious miscarriage of justice has not finished by a long shot. Indeed, it is a major event in Australian history and will be examined ceaselessly.
When all the stakeholders are gone and balanced historians examine the evidence, the real scoundrels will appear to take their place in nation’s rogues gallery.
The character of Madame DeFarge in Charles Dickens’s A TALE OF TWO CITIES is the (UK) Telegraph‘s Daisy Bowie-Sell’s favourite Dickens character.
‘Madame Defarge, from A Tale Of Two Cities,’ Bowie-Sell writes, ‘is a one of Charles Dickens’s meanest characters and is the fifth in the Telegraph pick of the best Charles Dickens characters.’
Pablo Elton – Macau Catholic Weekly
Cardinal Pell is being held in a prison in Melbourne, Australia. He awaits his sentence on March 13. He has appealed against his conviction on five counts of sexual abuse, allegedly for acts committed in 1996 or 1997. What has happened has shocked and hurt many people, especially Catholics. The general feeling is one of disbelief and surprise.
Nine months ago I had lunch with Cardinal Pell in a simple restaurant near his home in Sydney. From what I have read these days in the press, I realize now that he was already aware of the accusations formulated by the former choir member of Melbourne Cathedral. At lunch we talked, among other things, about the reason for his return to Australia; he told me that he wanted the truth to come to light, as he has repeated many times. And the truth, as he has also repeated on countless occasions, is that those events never took place. During that meal I realized that he was already prepared to suffer what is now a reality.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported (5 March) that Cardinal Pell’s experienced and highly successful barrister Robert Richter will not be part of the team acting on behalf of the Cardinal in the appeal against his conviction. Richter is quoted as saying he does not have ‘sufficient objectivity at this stage’.
‘I am very angry about the verdict,’ he told The Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, ‘because [the jury’s decision] was perverse’. He went on to say, ‘I think the man is an innocent man and he’s been convicted. It’s not a common experience.’
It was rare show of public emotion from one of Australia’s leading criminal lawyers, who usually comes across as unflappable in his devastating defence of his clients.
Robert Richter’s reaction says much about the process of Cardinal Pell’s conviction.
With the exception of Alan Jones, 2GB’s presenters have been disappointing in their commentary on the Pell conviction about which I will have more to say in subsequent comments. Jones’s comment made on his Sky News program is brilliant for its succinct coverage of the main points of Cardinal Pell’s defence.
Multiple charges made against Cardinal Pell for historic sexual abuse were scheduled for a committal hearing in March 2018. Some charges were withdrawn before the hearing and some during the hearing. Magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed all but six of the charges, five by the one complainant. Those six were to go to trial. In February 2019, the one charge by one complainant was withdrawn by the prosecution. There was no hope of conviction.
Magistrate Wallington dismissed the charges, reported Peter Westmore (News Weekly (5 May, 2018), where there was a ‘fundamental defect’ or ‘where you get to the point where credibility [of the complainant] is effectively annihilated’. Wallington therefore allowed a wide margin of credibility to the charges. That wide margin of credibility was evident when the public got to know the detail of the five charges that went to court (see Police interview shows accusations nutty and impossible). Wallington commented about those she dismissed:Continue reading of ‘Multiple charges’ what remained? What remains of credibility?
The Age newspaper, which has been in the forefront of the unrelenting and unmerciful media attacks on Cardinal Pell, posted excerpts from the police interview with the Cardinal on youtube (see below) detailing the charges for which he was convicted last December. I offer an analysis of the complainant’s claims.
We first see the Cardinal listening attentively to the police interviewer as he reads an account of the boys’ action leading to the alleged abuse. The boys found their way to the sacristy at the back of St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Cardinal interrupts to ask which sacristy the interviewer is talking about, that is, in which sacristy the boys found the altar wine, the Archbishop’s sacristy or the priest’s sacristy. The Cardinal now wears a sceptical expression. The interviewer is stumped for a moment. He obviously doesn’t know there was more than one sacristy. The interviewer says it was presumably the Archbishop’s sacristy where Pell at the time would have vested and unvested. This is the first howler. The Cardinal says no wine is kept in the Archbishops’s sacristy.Continue reading police interview shows accusations nutty and impossible
The ‘heart-on-her-sleeve’ Louise Milligan poses with Melbourne Magistrate Belinda Wallington who subsequently sent Pell to a Supreme Court trial after a committal at which Milligan testified. This chummy photo was taken after both appeared on Jon Faine’s ABC radio program. Faine is not known for his impartiality towards Cardinal Pell or the Catholic Church.
The photo is a selection of illustrations and photos to demonstrate the bigotry that turns Pell-haters inside out.
The following crippling review by Julia Yost appeared in First Things on 7 March 2017.
THE CASE AGAINST CARDINAL PELL
Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell
Melbourne, 277 pages
George Cardinal Pell was charged last week with multiple counts of sexual abuse of children. He currently resides in Rome, tasked with cleaning up the Vatican finances. In the coming weeks he will fly to his native Australia, where he vows to fight all charges. His successor in the see of Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, advises letting the justice system take its course.
Australian civil authorities have yet to announce the number and nature of the offenses with which Pell is charged. But allegations against Pell have been accumulating for years. He stands publicly accused of complicity in a sex abuse coverup in the diocese of Ballarat in the 1970s and early 1980s; complicity in a sex abuse coverup in the archdiocese of Melbourne in the late 1980s and 1990s; and various counts of child molestation, assault, and indecent exposure, from 1961 through 1997.
Milligan does not attempt to conceal her hostility to the Catholic Church. She recalls her Catholic girlhood with a shudder. When she can, she quotes her sources disclaiming any vendetta against the Church. But she is equally happy to quote a source, for instance, who recalls that his mother “took her shoe off and hit me in the face about six or seven times and said I was dirty”—in accordance, he says, with the “Catholic system.” Whenever she can, Milligan associates Catholicism with the victimization of children.