Keith Windschuttle, editor of Quadrant Magazine, has written a book that is a must-read for those Australians who fondly think we live in a society unassailably based on the rule of law. Here he gives an account of the focus of his book.
A Kafkaesque Scenario
Keith Windschuttle, Editor, Quadrant Magazine
The case of Cardinal George Pell and child sexual abuse is still not finished. There is the matter now being investigated by the Australian Federal Police about whether Pell’s opponents within the Vatican sent money to Australia to try to influence public opinion and legal proceedings. However, given the enthusiasm to persecute Pell displayed by those arrayed against him in Australian legal and media circles, if such bribery did exist it was probably wasted. As Humbert Wolfe observed long ago, when you see what they will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.
Moreover, with today’s benefit of hindsight over the competing perspectives that now come into view, the Pell case seems even more important on levels other than the multi-pronged witch hunt by the desperate characters who brought him down. Above all, the case is a demonstration of the fragility of the rule of law and of civilised social and professional relationships. Within the ideological imperatives that prevail today, any one of us could become George Pell. We could be accused by strangers of reprehensible behaviour, and then find the weight of the nation’s structures of law, government and public opinion piled on top of us—a Kafkaesque scenario.
Pell was lucky to be saved at the last minute by his only remaining hope, the judges of the Australian High Court. They retained enough independence and integrity to see the truth of his case as it was. However, these qualities had been beyond the ability of the majority of judges in the Victorian Court of Appeal and beyond the comprehension of the six former judges and legal officials who sat on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, all of whom displayed embarrassing failings in the logic of their findings. There are no guarantees that future members of the High Court will act as creditably as those who acquitted Pell.
In my book published last month, The Persecution of George Pell (Quadrant Books, 408 pages, $39.95), I not only cover the minutiae of police, court and Royal Commission proceedings in what defence counsel Robert Richter accurately described as “Operation Get Pell” from 2013 to 2020, but also place it within the history of the culture wars, political ideology and consequent changes to legal procedures related to sexuality that have accumulated since the 1960s.
Archbishop Vigano, Pope Francis’s most outspoken critic, recently raised serious questions about the Second Vatican Council. He has joined a long line of critics over the years, with Archbishop Lefebvre of the Society of St Pius X at the forefront. Archbishop Vigano has followed Archbishop Lefebvre in demanding the documents of the Council be jettisoned and the Church start again, with Traditional belief the starting point.
I follow St John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their interpretation of the Council documents. The documents should be read in the light of Tradition – according to the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’. Any apparent ambiguities are resolved by placing them in the teaching of what went before Vatican II. There have been a number of crucial documents following the Council that have corrected the alleged ambiguities.
The collapse of the Church after the Council was due to the adoption of the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’, which ignored the documents and created a whole new church, which was the stated aim of its promoters. The so-called ‘spirit’ prevailed politically, not doctrinally. The overthrow of the Traditional Church was a political victory.
The political forces for the new church were tightly organised before the start of the Council. On the 11th of October 1962, the opening of the Council, they went into operation. Their political manoeuvring and manipulation steamrolled the thoroughly unprepared Traditionalists, those defending the centuries-old Church. Several years’ work in the preparatory documents were tossed out and a new start made, at the head of which were some of the most notorious dissenters in the years following the Council. Indeed, it was only the intervention of Pope St Paul VI at critical points that stopped the Council tipping over the edge into heresy.
My thesis that the Second Vatican Council was primarily a political contest is grounded largely on Fr Ralph Wiltgen’s THE RHINE FLOWs INTO THE TIBER, reissued in 1978 as THE INSIDE STORY OF VATICAN II, and Roberto de Mattei’s magisterial THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL (AN UNWRITTEN STORY). There is also my experience of the Council and its aftermath. I was sixteen in 1962 and nineteen when the 1960s cultural revolution and the student rebellion exploded on the West in 1965. The Council wrapped up in December 1965.
In a very informative discussion of the Council, Patrick Coffin interviews Dr Ralph Martin about his new book A CHURCH IN CRISIS: PATHWAYS FORWARD. The discussion gives depth to my views. Highly recommended.
In his Spectator article, The sinister Vatican plot against Cardinal Pell, Damian Thompson writes that he and others have always suspected Cardinal Pell’s enemies in the Vatican had something to do with the cardinal’s conviction. Even so, he did not expect a Vatican cardinal to provide evidence to support those suspicions.
He relates, as others have done (see previous posts), the fall of Cardinal Becciu because of delinquency with Vatican funds, highlighting the mysterious transfer of A$1.1 million to an Australian account around the time Cardinal Pell was running the gauntlet of Victoria’s degraded criminal justice system. In the final paragraphs of his article, he raises some interesting points about where to from here. He says the public may learn more about Cardinal Pell’s ‘solitary accuser’. ‘God only knows,’ he adds, ‘what will happen then.’ If I’m right about the choirboy, some journalists will at this moment be running scared. They will be lucky to come off with no more than mere humiliation.
‘The High Court decision did not repudiate the former choirboy, with both Cardinal Pell’s senior counsel, Bret Walker, SC, and Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, QC, agreeing in their submissions to the court that he was a credible, believable witness.’
These are words from a (5 Oct) report by Adam Cooper of Melbourne’s Age newspaper whose delirious anti-Catholic bigotry tops all others.
There are two obvious points to make about Cooper’s claim.
The first is a question of logic. It does not follow that because Bret Walker, SC, and Kerri Judd, QC, agreed that the choirboy was a ‘credible, believable witness’ that the choirboy was not lying. Cooper evidently does not see it.
Nor does it follow from this mutual agreement that the ‘High Court did not repudiate the former choirboy.’ Both assertions or premises are unconnected. This is another example of the sloppy reasoning in a hostile media that runs through all the reporting on the Pell case. Indeed, tight logical reasoning is not a priority of most Age reporters who have their political prejudices to promote.
An important, but not the primary, consequence of the stunning sacking of Cardinal Angelo Becciu is that it completes on the Vatican side what was accomplished by the Australian High Court in April, namely the complete vindication of Cardinal George Pell.
As Cardinal Pell arrives in Rome this week after three years in Australia, the counterpoint between the cardinal’s return and Cardinal Becciu’s fall is worthy of a novel.
“The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances … and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments,” Cardinal Pell stated in reference to his brother cardinal’s dismissal. “I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria [Australia].”
They just can’t leave Cardinal Pell alone, can they? With anyone else it would be stalking. Stalking is okay when the leftist media has Cardinal Pell as the victim. The Sydney Morning Heraldreported Cardinal Pell had dinner with friends at a Circular Quay restaurant in Sydney. Why? Because it was the opportunity to sneer, ridicule and harass the Cardinal. What a bunch of gutless worms that run The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Well, they have to serve their bigoted constituency, don’t they?
Pell breaks (garlic) bread at Circular Quay Italian diner
Readers will recall Pell spent his first night of freedom upon his release in the Carmelite Monastery in Melbourne’s Kew, before being driven by a friend to the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Homebush. He has spent the bulk of his time in Sydney since his release.
Pell, according to CBD spies, was seated at the middle of a long table, with about a dozen people, and knew some of the guests at smaller tables flanking the high table.
Those inside the restaurant overheard the dinner was held to mark his release from jail.
At one point, Pell – who was dressed in what one observer described as “priestly regalia” – stood to address his friends and gave a short speech and toast.
Apparently Pell was flanked by a number of priests. One guest wore a blazer bearing an Order of Australia gong on their lapel. Representatives for the Catholic Church and Pell did not return calls and emails on Thursday.
The other guests in the restaurant said they had to pinch themselves.
“It was like the last supper,” one onlooker said. “He was sitting in the middle of a long dinner table, and there was no one sitting opposite.”
The Coronavirus: How did Victoria get so much so wrong?
Gerard Henderson, The Sydney Institute, 11 August 2020
Around two months ago I walked up a one-way street in the Sydney CBD. A young man, wearing a mask approached me and asked, firmly but courteously, if I would use the opposite footpath. I did so.
On looking around, I noticed two parked police cars and a bus. After passing the bus I looked back and saw a member of the Australian Defence Force ushering passengers into a hotel. I realised that this was a group of people returning from overseas and going into 14-day quarantine. There was an air of quiet authority about the process.
This contrasts with the apparent mayhem in some of the hotels used for quarantine in Melbourne. For reasons currently unknown, the Victorian Labor government did not put Victoria Police in charge of quarantine and did not accept the commonwealth government’s early offers to provide the ADF’s assistance.
CNA Staff, Jun 27, 2020 / 02:02 pm MT (CNA).- A member of the Parliament of Victoria has urged that there be an inquiry into the treatment of Cardinal George Pell by the state’s police and judiciary, months after Australia’s High Court unanimously overturned his conviction for five alleged counts of sexual abuse.
Victorian politician calls for inquiry into investigation of Cardinal Pell
Bernie Finn, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council from the Liberal Party, said June 18 that “the integrity of the justice system in this state is very much on trial.”
“There are major questions that are desperately in need of answers. I would like to see an inquiry that is at arm’s length from Victoria Police, arm’s length from the judiciary and arm’s length from the government.”
Finn asked that Jill Hennessey, Attorney-General of Victoria, launch an investigation into former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Graham Ashton and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to discover “how we can avoid trial by media in future, how did the Court of Appeal get it so very wrong and how could an innocent man in this day and age in Victoria be jailed in the way that Cardinal Pell was”.