Martin Burger’s report Prayers start for Cdl Pell 9 days before high court hears final appeal on LifeSiteNews website raises two interesting points either not covered or rarely referred to. The first is Phil Lawler’s worry about the quality of the Australian legal system and the courage of the Australian government. It’s not only the courage of the government. The courage of the legal people administering justice is a huge worry. Will they dare to depart from the ideology and social attitudes (let’s say bigotry) responsible for Cardinal Pell’s incarceration?
Phil Lawler, the editor of Catholic World News, called the verdict “a shock and a black mark against the Australian justice system.”
He questioned the willingness of the Australian government to support a fair judgment.
“In Australia today, the government — specifically the justice system — is now also heavily invested in the conviction of Cardinal Pell. To admit an error would be to admit an unreasonable verdict, brought about by an unreasonable prosecution, and now buttressed by an unreasonable appeals-court decision,” Lawler commented.
“To say that Cardinal Pell is not guilty is to imply that the judicial system is guilty in its treatment of his case. Will the country’s top court have the courage to reach that verdict?”
The second aspect is the possible role of Cardinal Pell’s Vatican enemies in the lynch mob action against him. Make no mistake, some nasty individuals have wormed their way into Vatican power positions. When great sums of money are at stake, murder is the least of it. This part of the Pell affair needs a lot more investigation. Who will have the courage to do it?
As prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, the Australian cardinal “was openly loathed by many of the other curial leaders,” Ed Condon wrote in an analysis piece published by the Catholic News Agency.
“The Australian cardinal’s efforts to deliver financial transparency and accountability to the curia in the first years of the Francis pontificate met with internal curial resistance — in one famous incident, the Secretariat of State maneuvered without Pell’s knowledge to cancel an announced independent audit,” Condon continued.
“Since his return to Australia, Pell’s reforms have largely been reversed by those who would take the closest interest in his case in Rome.”
Some observers, including Robert Royal of The Catholic Thing, have speculated that there might be a connection between people in the Vatican trying to protect certain secrets and Cardinal Pell’s trial in Australia.