Christianity “helped me to survive” says Cardinal Pell
Cardinal George Pell has urged university students from across Australia to reflect on the Christian teaching on suffering, offering advice for those experiencing what he called “moments of extremity”.
Patron of the Australian Catholic Students’ Association for close to 20 years, the Cardinal addressed the students at an online retreat held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Referring to his own 13 months imprisonment, he said there is a lot of goodness in prisons and many others go through much greater suffering than what he experienced.
Lawyer Michael McAuley has written a devastating critique of the Royal Commission’s treatment of Cardinal Pell. In brief, he argues convincingly that the evidence does not support the commission’s findings against the cardinal. He concluded the commission morphed into the Get-Pell campaign, the campaign that resulted in sending an innocent man into solitary confinement for more than a year, destroyed his health, and left him vocationally and socially liquidated.
Was the Royal Commission hand in glove with the “Get Pell” campaign?
A close study of its “findings” reveals serious flaws
Michael McAuley, Mercatornet, 29 May 2020
After Cardinal George Pell’s successful appeal against his conviction for sexual abuse, the “Get Pell” campaign died down. But the release of three unredacted reports of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has given it a second wind.
Although they were not directly relevant, these documents were redacted because they might have prejudicially swayed the juries in the Cardinal’s two trials.
In the redacted text, the Royal Commission effectively accused Cardinal Pell of lying about two important meetings involving abusive priests. His position was that he was deceived about their sexual abuse in both instances. The Royal Commission contended that this was implausible. Armed with this criticism, Pell’s critics are having a field day.
The Royal Commission is a mixed bag. It got much right — and some things seriously wrong, especially his knowledge of the crimes of two serious abusers, Gerald Ridsdale and Peter Searson. Its findings should be compared to a 2015 inquiry by the Family Development Committee of the Victorian Parliament, Betrayal of Trust: Inquiry Into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non Government Organisations. That inquiry made no finding against Pell, although it was critical of other Church leaders.
Gerard Henderson of the Sydney Institute has been at the forefront of the sustained criticism of the royal commission into clerical child sexual abuse and the legal fiasco of Cardinal Pell’s trials. He has taken apart the arguments condemning the cardinal. In particular, he destroyed the case run by Louise Milligan, leaving that deluded ABC flunkey nothing to say other than that Henderson defends paedophiles. That’s her stock reply to criticisms she cannot answer.
In his latest article about Cardinal Pell and the royal commission, Henderson is no less compelling in his criticism after the release of the redacted pages, the last great hope of the Pell-haters. His irresistible conclusion is that the Cardinal was denied justice.
Royal commission denies George Pell legal justice
The Sydney Institute, MAY 17, 2020
The ignorance of some journalists never seems to surprise. Take, for example, the release last week of the non-redacted report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse covering its case studies in the Catholic diocese of Ballarat and archdiocese of Melbourne.
Sections of both reports had been delayed pending the result of the outcome of the charges laid against Cardinal George Pell for historical child sexual abuse when he was archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997. On April 7, in a unanimous decision, the High Court quashed Pell’s conviction.
Many of Pell’s media critics, who were disappointed with his acquittal, looked forward to the release of the royal commission’s findings, which they expected to be hostile to Pell. They were not disappointed. Nor should they have expected to be, in view of the hostile reception Pell faced during his appearances before the royal commission comprising close to 20 hours — especially from counsel assisting Gail Furness SC.
Immediately after its release, Nine Entertainment’s Peter FitzSimons, a leading Pell antagonist, referred to the report as “a judgment”. No, it wasn’t. A royal commission is not a court of law. Moreover, in this instance, half of its members did not have legal qualifications.
Royal commissions make findings, not judgments. And their burden of proof is far lower than guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It’s closer to the balance of probabilities that prevails in civil cases.
Professor Emeritus Garrett Ward Sheldon writes about the American situation in his article ‘Church and State in Virusland‘, but most of the his points on religious liberty could be applied to the Australian situation, and in particular to Victoria whose dictatorial overlord is the Marxist government of the eye-spinning leftist fanatic Daniel Andrews.
Professor Sheldon is an ordained Christian minister but, again, what he says about religious faith and its adherence applies as well to Catholics. In his opening paragraphs, he gets straight to the point.
As state governments all over America outlaw “social gatherings” except for “essential services” such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores, the implications for religion become obvious. Last Sunday, a minister in Florida was arrested for holding a normal church service and thereby endangering public health.
But a church worship service is not just a public gathering; it is a holy assembly. Our Faith tells us that God blesses and honors the prayers of His people in His House and that may well give comfort, healing, and peace to millions. The current discussion over this virus is almost exclusively scientific and economic, ignoring the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the crisis.
From the moment the news broke that Victoria Police intended to charge Cardinal with the sexual abuse of two 13-year-olds in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral directly after the inaugural High Mass for his appointment as Archbishop of Melbourne, most without investment in the cardinal’s guilt scoffed at the idea. The idea that a man of George Pell’s conservative character and habits could commit such grisly deeds in such fraught circumstances was preposterous.
Of course, the legion of Pell-Haters, some sickening to mental and emotional derangement, were jubilant. Whatever the insanity of the charges, Cardinal Pell belonged in jail. That was the way things should be in our socially enlightened society.
A tight analogy would be claiming gay activist Alan Joyce, appointed to head up one of Australia’s icons, QANTAS, sneaked off during his inaugural celebrations and forced a child of an employee to engage in oral sex. The idea is insane – just as insane as the idea that Cardinal Pell would jeopardise everything about him and his achievements in such a wanton act.
The fact that most people gauge their reaction to a person on his known character was of no account for the police, the jury in the second trial, and for the majority judgement in the Cardinal’s Appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Nor was the fact of no direct corroborative evidence of any account. Nor was the necessary alignment of many points of organization and routine of a High Mass of any account. Nor was the worldwide critical analysis of the case by people at least as intelligent as the appeal judges of any account. Nor was the detailed judgement of the third appeal judge, Mark Weinberg, who smashed the majority judgement of any account. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Justice Christ Maxwell found Cardinal Pell’s protected anonymous accuser ‘credible’ and dismissed Cardinal Pell’s appeal in a flimsy judgement that reeks of arrogance and self-importance.
Karen Sweeney working for Australian Associated Press (AAP) is another ‘journalist’ who churns out the bigot’s news on Cardinal Pell’s High Court Appeal. This is the way she begins her report (Pell’s wait on High Court decision begins) of the submissions by Cardinal Pell’s lawyer Brad Walker and Prosecutor Kerri Judd (12th).
‘Disgraced Cardinal George Pell faces a further wait to learn whether his last-ditch bid for freedom has paid off or he’ll stay behind bars for years.
‘The High Court hasn’t yet granted the pedophile permission to appeal his five convictions for sexually abusing two choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996.’
The gratuitous ‘disgraced’ and ‘pedophile’ immediately signals where she stands on Australia’s Alfred Dreyfus Affair.
She then goes on to give a slapdash report, placing a positive gloss on the prosecutor’s submission whom she obviously supports, as all journalists of her ilk do. Ideology, whatever degree of feminism consumes her, dictates the content and colour of her reporting.
Cardinal Pell represents everything about patriarchy she and her feminist cohorts despise. He should be in jail for that alone.
This sort of ideologically distorting reporting with its gratuitous insults is equivalent to lying.
Sweeney, like her feminist pals, has ignored the enormous contention worldwide about this case, many senior and academic lawyers expressing doubt about the running of the case, some outraged by what they call unabashed injustice. You would think on that ground alone Sweeney would be circumspect in her reporting. But, no, ideology and destruction of the patriarchy go before all else.
Apart from that, the case still has not been concluded. She and her fellow bigots just cannot hold back until the High Court Appeal concludes, can they?
AAP is owned by three Australian news organisations – News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment Co., and Seven West Media. Nine owns 47%, News owns 45%, and Seven West 8%. Together these companies produce the vast majority of Australian newspapers.
After all I have read and written on the injustice of Cardinal Pell’s jailing, never finding any reason to change my mind, I realise that it comes down the prayer in the end, given the bitter unrelenting forces private, governmental and institutional lined up against the cardinal. One prays that the High Court judges today receive an infusion of grace so that they can see the injustice and move to correct it. Cardinal Pell’s intentions have been daily in my prayers from the beginning.
Today Chris Friel posted a short ‘Restatement of a Significant Piece of Evidence in the Pell Case’.
“He didn’t say in evidence or committal or anywhere that the wine bottle was in the sink area. He said it was in the alcove area … So he always maintained that the wine bottle was there in the alcove. He never maintained it was in that new sink area we know exists now.” – Mark Gibson, Closing Address.
In the Crown’s closing address to the jury the Crown made much of this indication, and the Crown have repeated the “significant” point in their submission to the High Court. However, in a number of papers now I have argued that beyond reasonable doubt these claims are factually incorrect. No doubt, after it became apparent that the “new sink area” was once a wardrobe, the story shifted and was then maintained consistently. It had to because, not only does the idea of finding wine in the wardrobe gives the lie to the claim that the complainant was remembering the place as it was in 1996, but also it indicates embarrassingly, that this so-called knowledge dates from after 2004 implying that the complainant must have been coached somehow.
In a single page I intend to point out the basis on which I argue my claims. There are five strands.
Millions upon millions of dollars have been lost to scammers because of appearance. Phone calls allegedly from the tax department and Microsoft Windows have netted heaps of money because they sounded convincing. Emails appearing to be from the major banks, cleverly composed and photoshopped, have also netted millions. Scammers, con artists, imposters, swindlers and the like succeed because they appear convincing.
Conning the innocent, the gullible and the bigoted will always provide a rich field for the petty crook and the malevolent political operator at the highest level. Keith Windschuttle, in his most recent piece (see previous post), quoted senior Crown prosecutor Christopher Boyce’s self-described reaction to the courtroom performance of Cardinal Pell’s accuser, the choirboy with the chocolate drop eyes. Boyce told the court:
The responses that you see there, not only that you read there, but did you see there — and the manner in which they’re delivered; at the end of those, one puts down one’s pen and stares blankly at the screen and is moved. At that point, in my respectful submission, any prima facie at least, any doubt that one might have had about the account, prima facie, is removed.
Is he serious? Is he fair dinkum – in the Aussie way? Of course , he’s not. It’s all theatre. Deceitful theatre. He is out to manipulate the feelings of those who, in this case, are willing to be manipulated. A nice effective con.
You can be sure the last thing Crown Prosecutor Christopher Boyce would do in his private life is accept people merely on appearance when much is personally at stake.
I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry asks George (Costanza) how he could live with himself after George barrelled his way through a kids party to escape a fire. George answered: ‘It’s not easy.’
One might wonder how easy it is for Chief Justice Anne Ferguson. One might ask whether she was serious when she said (also quoted in Windschuttle’s piece) of the choirboy’s performance:
Both the content of the answers, and the manner of their delivery, were said to be such as to eliminate any doubt a juror might have had. In our view, this was a very significant part of [the choirboy’s] evidence. It was rightly characterised as compelling, both because of the clarity and cogency of what [the choirboy] said and because of the complete absence of any indication of contrivance in the emotion which [the choirboy] conveyed when giving his answers.
I am reminded of those occasions when John McEnroe screamed at the court empire out of frustration: ‘You can’t be serious!’ The empires had better grounds for retort than the majority with their purple prose.
No unbiased person of normal intelligence trusts a person on mere appearance when much is personally at stake.