John Ferguson in his acceptably balanced commentary on the Pell case in the Australian of 7 March gets one thing wrong. He says:
‘The prosecution also argues that Team Pell glosses over the quality of the evidence provided by A, who correctly identified the location of the first offending and correctly described the layout of the priests’ sacristy.‘
What evidence? In previous posts , I demonstrated how Keith Windschuttle and Chris Friel ripped to shreds the choirboy’s account of the priests’ sacristy. The choirboy described the sacristy as it was after alterations, not as it was in 1996. See the previous posts.
Ferguson covers what the legal professionals and academics think about the case. As someone for years immersed in the thought of Edmund Burke, I want to make a distinction between legal theory (abstract thinking) and what ordinary everyday reasoning tells one about the concrete world we live in.
Burke who made a distinction between the ‘politician in action’ and a professor of politics, said that the total reliance on abstract speculation in politics risked a destructive rupture between the concrete and the abstract. He compared the British Constitution (in the broad sense) that had formed over time with the actions of the French revolutionaries who were driven by theory. The dreadful excesses of the revolution were the result, as they were in the Russian Revolution driven my Marxism.
The High Court of Australia may reject the appeal on the basis of fine legal distinctions, but it won’t stop the ordinary person concentrating on the concrete circumstances, free from the obscurantism of legal theory and legal technique.
How can one believe that Cardinal Pell, notorious for his rigid views, a stickler for correct routine and ritual, and just risen to the exalted position of Archbishop of Melbourne, deviate from his characteristic behaviour and risk everything in a highly risky criminal act? It not only goes against his character and habits, but it defies a person fundamental reasoning powers. It is insane behaviour.
It is just as insane as suggesting gay activist Alan Joyce would abuse the son of one of his employees just when all were celebrating his rising to take control of one of Australia’s cultural icons.
Similarly, how could someone knowing the routine of a Catholic Solemn High Mass offered by an archbishop believe that the highly visible archbishop without his many attendants somehow exited the processional, passed a crowd of people unseen, and arrived at the priests’ sacristy where he had time to commit three sexual assaults? It is too much to believe – except for those with political and ideological investment.
In the long run, the issue is political and ideological. Cardinal Pell is a strong political and religious conservative. He is the common enemy of the left in politics and religion. There are many on the clerical left who hate his guts.