Is Cardinal Pell “the quintessential scape-goat”? [Updated]

“The Australian leftist establishment hates him,” says a source in Australia, “the gay lobby hate him, the atheists, liberal Catholics and feminist ideologues hold him in contempt and he has taken on the Italian mafia in trying to reform the Vatican’s finances.”

Australian Cardinal George Pell is pictured at the Vatican in this Aug. 5, 2014, file photo. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)

I’m not an expert—not even close—on Australian politics or Catholicism Down Under, but over the past few years I’ve carried on correspondence with a number of Catholics in Australia. And these folks, all of them serious and learned Catholics, have consistently painted a picture that is often troubling, even disturbing. One of them recently lamented that while, until recently, “there was an identifiable thing in Australia known as Catholicism”, that “thing no longer exists.”

To Americans, this source noted, this will sound “pessimistic,” but to Australians “it could well not seem pessimistic enough.” Hyberbolic to some degree, but also indicative of the frustration of many Catholics Down Under. Anti-Catholicism runs deep, and while the U.S. certainly had its share of anti-Catholic nastiness in the day—notably in the Nativism of the early 1800s and the animosity against Catholic immigrants in the decades that followed—much of Australia seems to have held on rather tightly to its suspicion, dislike, and even hatred of the Catholic Church. (This is not to disregard how much the secular media and elites still go after the Church in the U.S., but to note the difference in degree between the two countries.)

Church leadership in Australia has, by and large, not helped matters in the least. Not because the bishops there have been overly orthodox or “conservative”, but because they have been mostly soft, squishy, or worse. Or, in the words of another correspondent, “worse than useless”. This same correspondent notes that Cardinal George Pell has been one of the few exceptions, being personally responsible for almost anything and everything good that has taken place in the Church in Australia since “the mid-1990s.” This has earned him many enemies, as’s Michael Cook—who writes from Australia, where the site is based—summed up in a recent piece:

George Pell’s problem is his strength of character. He was born two generations before Mark Zuckerberg, but the motto of Facebook, “move fast and break things”, expresses something of his style. Even physically, at 6-foot-3-inches, he is an imposing figure. He is a blunt speaker, a tough and practical manager, a theological conservative, a supporter of the Pope, and an outspoken critic of contemporary social mores. He was the plumber of the Australian Catholic Church, the man who fearlessly waded into the sewer of its sex abuse scandal and cleared the blocked drains.

So Pell has no shortage of enemies. When Australia had a referendum on changing the head of state from the Queen of England, he was a leading supporter of Australia becoming a Republic. That was divisive. He opposes homosexual activism, which is divisive. He strongly opposes same-sex marriage, which is bitterly divisive.

He supported John Paul II to the hilt and amongst his clergy that was divisive. He set up his own sex-abuse protocol and amongst the Australian bishops that was divisive. He shook up the Melbourne seminary and that was divisive. In his role in the Vatican, he has worked hard to set finances right and root out corruption and that was divisive.

George Pell’s career is a kind of mise en scène for an Agatha Christie novel in which Hercule Poirot finds that the dead man in a pool of blood was living in a hotel and every resident had a motive for murder.

Or, as one of my correspondents put it:

‘The Australian leftist establishment hates him, the gay lobby hate him, the atheists, liberal Catholics and feminist ideologues hold him in contempt and he has taken on the Italian mafia in trying to reform the Vatican’s finances. There is also the issue of freemasonic influence in the Victorian police force’.

Freemasonry? Many Americans will either scoff or be puzzled by such claims, but the role of freemasonry in Australia (and some countries in Europe) is not something of past centuries or moldy conspiracy theories. But even setting that aside, Pell has plenty of enemies from:

• Secular liberals, as Cook explains: “The attacks on Pell ultimately stem from a loathing of the Church and its moral teachings amongst the left-leaning Victorian political establishment. At the moment it is in government, noisily campaigning for euthanasia and transgender rights and quietly gloating over the possibility of destroying Australia’s best-known Catholic.”

• Liberal Catholics, as described by Peter Craven of The Sydney Morning Herald: “The antagonism between Pell and those urbane worldlings of the Church is certainly true and many people don’t realise that Pell was loathed by a lot of Catholic liberals long before he became identified with the abuse issue in the public mind. In fact, the opposition to Pell (which was shared by his predecessor as Archbishop in Melbourne, Sir Frank Little, who seems to have been rather more of an appeaser of sexual offences) was quite marked at the very stage that Pell was making an impact as the most forceful and personable churchman since Daniel Mannix.”

• The media, as lambasted by former politician Amanda Vanstone: “The media frenzy surrounding Cardinal George Pell is the lowest point in civil discourse in my lifetime. I’m 64. What we are seeing is no better than a lynch mob from the dark ages. Some in the media think they are above the law both overseas and at home. Deep pockets of your boss or lesser pockets on your victim, build bravado. If your assets aren’t on the line you can trash a reputation with gay abandon.”

It’s worth pointing that the media in Australia has long had very low approval ratings (something that Americans can identify with). With such a poisonous and poisoned situation, the question many are asking is: Can Cardinal Pell get a fair hearing? “It has been Pell’s misfortune to be a good man, an effective manager and a loyal priest,” states Cook. “In today’s world that is a dangerous combination. Ensuring that he gets a fair trial will be the ultimate test of the fairness of Australia’s courts.” Vanstone, a political liberal, wonders:

If there were a real prospect of Pell being charged one might have thought authorities would have sought an injunction to prevent the publication of a recently published book on him and certain allegations. Isn’t it normal to try to ensure a person can get a fair trial by keeping prejudicial, untested material out of the public arena?

The book in question is Cardinal:  The Rise and Fall of George Pell (Melbourne, 2017), by Louise Milligan. “Each and every allegation of abuse and cover up against him is false,” said a spokesman for Pell in May about the book, adding it “is an exercise in character assassination.” The book, as of late June, has been pulled by the publisher. But the book has been reviewed in great detail by Julia Yost of First Things, and has been found wanting:

The formal charges against Pell may differ from those highlighted in Milligan’s book. It is in the nature of sex abuse hysteria that allegations, true or not, will multiply. So I would be surprised if the formal charges did not include novel accusations. But let us scrutinize the case we have before us, in the same way those formal charges must be scrutinized: in terms of their cogency, credibility, and underlying assumptions.

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.

In her image of Pell, this association takes a monstrous form. Pell exhibits a “sociopathic lack of empathy,” not least in his adherence to traditional Catholic moral teaching. This portrait soon descends into schoolyard caricature. Taking up a popular epithet for him, Milligan calls Pell a “bully” over a dozen times. As a bishop, Pell used print, radio, and televisual media to bully his flock, by (for instance) voicing his concurrence in Veritatis Splendor. Pell is a bully because, when confronted by people who feel that Catholic moral teaching is unkind, he insists, nonetheless, that it is true. One source recalls Pell’s televised argument with actress and remarried divorcée Colette Mann: “There was sheer pain in her voice and there was pain and hurt in her whole attitude and she was speaking from her heart. If George had just reached out to her and touched her on the forearm and said something like ‘I am so sorry’ … But no. He hasn’t an ounce of empathy.” Pell is endlessly convicted by his critics of being insufficiently therapeutic, of failing to model emotiveness and bring about catharsis. The freighting of one churchman with such vast psychodynamic potency verges on the fetishistic.

There is much more, which is important reading—but not easy reading, as Yost does not turn away from questions about logistics, groping, and probing. Her comparison to the daycare abuse hysteria of the 1980s is, I think, a legitimate and important one; the parallels are quite striking on many levels. If Yost is correct in her analysis and Pell is true in his denials, then one of my Australian correspondents is right on the mark in stating: “He is the quintessential scape-goat. This is an example of white martyrdom.”

Yes, it is true that Cardinal Pell may be guilty of some or all charges. But I’m inclined to think he is probably “guilty” of being blunt, occasionally insensitive, orthodox, and unwilling to bent to the whims of those who would prefer he go away. He has expressed readiness, even eagerness, to clear his name. “However that plays out —” writes George Weigel at National Review Online:

and investigative reporters looking for a really good story should be digging into the possibility of an Italian–Australian connection or connections in this affair — George Pell will have his day in court. He will not be the only one on trial as he faces his accusers in a court of law, however. The reputation for fairness and probity of the Australian police and judicial systems will be on trial with him, as will the Australian media and those in Australian politics who have directly or indirectly encouraged — or at the very least failed to stand up against — the relentless and brutal attack that has been underway against one of Australia’s most accomplished sons for years.

July 9, 2017: Another reader/correspondent from Australia sends me the following note:

I saw your article on George Pell and, as I have lived in Sydney for the last 30 years, thought I would put in my “tuppence-ha’penny worth” on the Pell case.
You are right to say he has many enemies. Many within the Church don’t like him because he stands against to those in the who think that Catholicism is socialism with a dog-collar.
It is unlikely that he will get a fair trial in Australia, particularly in the People’s Democratic Republic of Victoria.
A witch-hunt has been going on for some time. Andrew Bolt is a conservative commentator who writes a political blog and he has been complaining about the witch-hunt for some time (See: “The George Pell Witch Hunt”).  There is a TV-show called “Common Sense” (I think they go into groups of people at that place of work) which asks the “average Australian” about current affairs and very recently they discussed Pell. One woman apparently said words to the effect that ‘I can tell from his face he is guilty’. Incredible stuff! I have heard from someone who knows someone connected to the case that Channel 10 will be getting a legal letter shortly.
All that said, perhaps a successful conviction is not the aim, but to throw enough mud at him and the Church.
The regard in which Catholics are held depends not only the viewpoint of the person or group, but also on the context. So for instance, the Catholic school system is held in high regard. Irish Catholicism is sometimes romanticised as rebellious against the English and feeds into Labor politics and the republican movement. On the other hand, when it suits the Labor left politically, they attack Catholicism with hatred and disdain.
One example was when Tony Abbott, then the Leader of the Opposition the Federal Parliament in Canberra, was interviewed by the Australian Women’s Weekly.  Abbott is a prominent Catholic who has three daughters. They asked him what he would advise his daughters in matters of sex and he replied that they should not do anything they would regret and not to give themselves away lightly. Sensible advice from a father to his daughters. This was quickly turned into an attack on all women, despite the fact that the interview was of a personal nature. (See: “Abbott lecturing women about virginity: Gillard”).

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About Carl E. Olson 1217 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.


  1. We must also remember the role that lots of gay money played in the transformation of Ireland from a Catholic state to what can only be called a Catholic hating state. Much of the push for gay marriage in Ireland was because an American gay organization known as Atlantic Philanthropies pumped literally millions of dollars into a tiny country (Ireland) of three million people, where shifting the votes of say ten thousand people might make all the difference in the world.

    Atlantic Philanthropies is now active in Australia. I would not be surprised to find that this attempted railroading of Pell is funded by Atlantic, and perhaps other organizations. Follow the money.

    • Atlantic Philosophies, the arm of the evil one is well and truly in Australia.

      The horizon looks very dark but the Lord has already triumphed. We need to cling to that.

      Christians will be persecuted if they remain Christians. That has always been the lot of those faithful to the Lord.

      Those who abandon the faith will have their heyday as those bow to the idols of this world. The sad thing about it is that the Vatican is leading this slow apostasy.

    • Aug. 27, 2017: I hope and pray that other than having God on his side Cardinal Pell has a good legal team. And I hope that those close to him who stand with him will be there to support him through this trial. Meanwhile, we must all pray fervently for him that the Holy Spirit will protect and defend him. Amen.

        • Sean…you have judged a man without evidence…I work for victims of sexual abuse, especially trafficked children so don’t imply that I have mercy for predators. You should show mercy for someone who is innocent unless and until proved guilty. I will pray for you!!!

    • If the Irish hadn’t been brainwashed and incapable of critical thinking they wouldn’t have fallen for the propaganda of Atlantic Philanthropies. There is no such thing as real education in Ireland, just exam-passing. What matters is getting points in an exam, not whether one is able to use one’s God-given reason and recognize logical fallacies for what they are. What would Aristotle think of the brainwashed Irish? He would probably consider them worse than slaves, which is what they are.

    • March 9, 2020: What I don’t understand is why Pope Francis has not spoken out in defense of Cdl. Pell as he did for those Bishops who were credibly accused of sexual abuse? He brought them to be with him at the Vatican. Why abandon Cdl. Pell??

  2. Bishop Robert Finn, formerly bishop of the Kansas City, Mo. diocese, also had many enemies, some of which were members of the lavender mafia who he had removed from power when he became Bishop. They took Bishop Finn down eventually. He was a very good man and a very good bishop. I hope Pell doesn’t suffer the same fate. He is a very good man, too.

    • Spot on about Bishop Robert Finn. He was and is a great bishop who came in and largely cleaned up the mess in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo. Diocese, thus he stepped on many leftist toes. He was forced to resign by Pope Francis for supposedly mishandling a case where a priest was found to have child pornography on his computer. Many of us think he handled the situation properly, including Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, but it was the excuse needed for a leftist NARAL backed local prosecutor to make a name for herself and go after Bishop Finn. She got one misdemeanor charge to stick, largely because Bishop Finn wanted to put the madness to rest and didn’t fight it much. Pope Francis sent a Canadian archbishop to do an audit of the diocese. He turned in a favorable report on Bishop Finn, but that evidently didn’t matter, Pope Francis saw an opportunity to get rid of an orthodox bishop and did so. The local anti-Catholic Kansas City Star piled on as well, and were harsh critics of Bishop Finn from the day he arrived. And no doubt Planned Parenthood and other pro-aborts had a role. Bishop Finn was a very active and effective pro-life leader. How dare he stop the blood money flowing to so many different pockets. Can’t have that.
      Bishop Finn was a great bishop for our diocese. When he came here, there were maybe 2 or 3 seminarians, when he was forced out by the pope about 9 years later, there were around 40. It is an abomination that his days as an active bishop leading a diocese are over as long as this pope is around.
      God Bless Bishop Finn and Cardinal Pell, two great and thus persecuted men of the Catholic Church.

      • There should be some recourse in Canon Law so that good bishop could not be so easily removed. The same thing happened to Bishop Lieveres in Paraguay. He set up both a major and a minor seminary and had a total of some 200 seminarians.The other Liberation inclined bishops, who turned a blind eye to ex-bishop and ex-President Lugo’s womanizing couldn’t stomach the fact that this bishop had so many seminarians and they had so few. An elderly Spanish cardinal was brought in to do a so-called visitation. The accused bishop was never given the accusations against him. This is totally contrary to Canon Law, as it is obviously not possible to defend oneself without even knowing what one is accused of. He was vaguely accused of “lack of communion” with the other bishops. What is the canonical meaning of this? Then he went to Rome and asked Francis for an audience, and got the same cold shoulder as the four dubia Cardinals. While he was in Rome the head of the dicastery in charge of Bishops told him by phone that he had been removed, and at the same time, the Nuntio in Asunción announced the name of his successor. This is all irregular, and arbitrary. So much for the rule of law in the Church. It seems to me that there should be some kind of judicial process to remove a bishop. The poor man died some 6 months later. Some speculate that due to the fact that he was diabetic, all that stress took him to his grave. Of course, he is one of a long list of casualties of the Francis papacy. The Archbishop of Rosario, one of the major dioceses in Argentina, was removed during the first year of the Francis papacy. He was one of the anti-Bergoglio bishops. Another one of them handed in his resignation without having reached the retirement age nor having any health issue or scandals, and it was accepted. Then there are the 3 priests given the boot from the CDF under Cardinal Muller, Cardinal Burke, who has even been deprived of his mainly ceremonial appointment as Patron of the Knights of Malta, and of course, Cardinal Muller, to mention only some of the best known, and of course, the Grand Master of the same Knights for attempting to clean up the scandal of hading of thousands of condoms and contraceptive, and then, of course, there is Professor Seifert.

  3. Perhaps he was a “bully” as you describe him. I would rather think he was more assertive and direct regarding the faith as a leader should be. I base that and his integrity on his shining record you present for the reader. Also on the recent article by George Weigel who with his family was happily associated with the young Pell. Weigel attests to his good character. I mention in my comment on Weigel’s article the growing number of Cardinals who oppose or at least strongly disagree with AL who are falling by the wayside beginning with R Burke, G Mueller, now G Pell. Cardinals Burke and Mueller were directly assassinated by order of the Pontiff [the Pontiff chided when he appointed Burke to Malta “He likes to travel”]. Cardinal Pell’s seeming assassination is covert. Perhaps hired, or just hateful deviate thugs as you suggest. We don’t know but there is a pattern. The goings on in our Church require strong faith and trust in Christ.

    • It looks a bit like what is called “the Clinton body count”, the difference being that those associated with the Clintons have met physical death. It also looks like a page out of Machiavelli’s Prince.

  4. Since the RCC has refused to speak the truth, has fought victims/survivors vigorously and with contempt, the depth the breadth of this abomination, coupled with the fact that these “men” were suppose to represent God and all that is good and true, is why we are where we are today. I never want to see anyone tried or convicted of something they have not done, but it is hard not to feel used and duped by the RCC in supporting them with this crisis. Pell does not have a “clean’ record with the abuses and is in fact guilty on some level already. Since the RCC continues in their behavior we have seen for years with regards to coming clean on this, they are fueling this scandal even more. Hopefully Pell’s trial will be broadcasted for all to hear, and hopefully the truth will be revealed.

    • Actually, it is pretty obvious that all of the usual screechers are going after Pell simply because he is one of the stalwarts who upholds Catholic teaching in all respects. Yes, he has a clean record. While you are talking about this, why did you not mention the role homosexuality played in this scandal? Or are we simply supposed to ignore that? The whole thing against Pell smells like a set up.

    • People like you need to come clean and admit that this abuse was repeated incidents of homosexual ephebophilia – sexual deviants masquerading as Catholic Priests and acting on their deviancy. You also need to admit that if the ban against ordaining intrinsically disordered homosexuals had been strictly adhered to by disobedient Bishops – many of whom were homosexuals themselves – then these acts would never have taken place.

    • Ann Barnhardt’s opinion, which is mostly given to her by third parties in Rome telling her to keep away from the Cardinal, is contradicted by the very positive opinions of many people who have known the Cardinal personally for a long time. He has many admirers. And then Ann jumps to ‘guilty by association’ because he accepted a job offered by the new Pope. Because anyone accepting a job from our Pope must be compromised! Really? Could not a faithful Cardinal accept, in obedience, a request from a new Pope to do a very difficult job.

  5. Australia’s marvellously Catholic compared to most of New Zealand. I wish Cardinal Pell well. He is a scapegoat.

  6. The regressive zeitgeist-ers of Jez-kirk, ably assisted by their fellow-sojourners in big-biz, big-academia and big-gov, are all carrying water for the sexual revolution.

    Every pro-Jez-kirk abuser (“Rev” Inzoli) and coverup artist (“Cdl” Danneels) will be promoted and excused of actual atrocities. Every leader not supporting Jez-kirk will be accused of the crimes Jez-kirk condones.

    Welcome to double-talk-kirk – and now a word from its leader Walter Kasper:

    “The God who sits enthroned over the world and history as a changeless being is an offense to man.” (Walter Kasper, God in History, 1967)

    A theology of arrogance for our SUPREME PONTIFF Francis (who is famous for being humble, as John Allen and Austin Ivereigh constantly remind us).

  7. “When the Son’s yoke becomes ours as well, his Incarnation becomes our divinization,” you quoted Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis in Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word (Ignatius, 1996. I found this an excellent quote. I also read George Weigel’s take on cardinal Pell and found very good that he has known this cardinal for fifty years and has him in high esteem. Whether he is a scape-goat or not, only God knows for certain. Perhaps we will not know the whole truth, there are many with a great interest in advancing the homosexual agenda in all levels of society.

  8. This attempt to depict the Cardinal as a victim of Australia’s anti-Catholic culture seems premature to the point of imprudence. Why not wait until the facts of the investigation are presented? This is, after all, a criminal investigation.

    • Amanda, that’s the entire point. Cardinal Pell has already been found guilty by the media and many others on the basis of untested allegations. The old adage of “innocent until Proven guilty” has been set aside n this case. Hence, the need for people who know Pell to try and balance the record so that there is at least some chance that he will get a fair trial. I admire Pell’s forthrightness, his manliness, his adherence to orthodoxy. That doesn’t prove him innocent but it goes a long way, in my mind, to indicate it.

    • And in the meantime are we supposed to consider him guilty until proven innocent, without substantiated evidence and a fair hearing, decades after the alleged crime, his reputation destroyed? I’ve seen too many prosecutors in my lifetime who succumb to political, ideological, or financial motives rather than seeking justice.

  9. Guilty or not, Cardinal Pell has seemingly been abandoned by the Catholic Church! The Catholic Church will NOT FUND his defence to hire a lawyer. That sounds abandoned to me! It’s now Pell v The World. It’s easy to claim that evilness is conspiring against Cardinal Pell but where does that put the Universal Catholic Church???

  10. As a survivor of sexual abuse I always want to see abusers face justice. Having said that, I am also hyper aware of how many good priests have been targeted either by individuals, other clerics or groups for the goals of money, power or notoriety. I pray daily for our priests and now especially for Cdl. Pell.

  11. I feel that Cardinal Pell is one among many. He and other hierarchy must have known about the criminal acts identified as the great Catholic cover up with Cardinals like Bernard Law and Roger Mahony. Law was particularly egregious with his evasive testimony that he relied on his assistants to investigate charges of abuse. Where does the buck stop? He was responsible for two of the most notorious pedophile priests in Boston. Father Paul Shanley and Father John Geoghan. When it was apparent Law was in trouble Pope John Paul II grabbed Law by the scruff and wisked him to Rome and “promoted” Law to “Archpriest”. WOW.

    Cardinal Roger Mahony of LA had a Mexican priest transferred to him. For 10 years Mahoney jockeyed assignments for the priest Nicholas Aguilar Rivera who raped dozens of children while in LA and under the node of Mahony! That cardinal was Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera who had full knowledge of his priest’s crimes.

    If Cardinal Pell knew of the Law and Mahony cover ups I wish he would come forth.

    • Ummm – why exactly would a priest, bishop (from 1986) archbishop (from 1996), and Cardinal (from 2003) who lived in Australia until 2015 be expected to know what was going on in New York and Los Angeles, or be in any way held accountable for the actions of anybody in those cities?

    • So you think Cardinal Pell is guilty because you believe Cardinals Law and Mahony are guilty. That’s a very weak case in chief.

  12. “One source recalls Pell’s televised argument with actress and remarried divorcée Colette Mann: “There was sheer pain in her voice and there was pain and hurt in her whole attitude and she was speaking from her heart. If George had just reached out to her and touched her on the forearm and said something like ‘I am so sorry’ … But no. He hasn’t an ounce of empathy.” ”

    The woman is in imminent danger of eternal damnation and that “source” is worried because her feeeeeelings were hurt. Oh, isn’t that just spiffy.

  13. Let us pray. If I am not personally a sufficiently just person for my prayers for the Cardinal to be heard, our Blessed Mother will pray for me, so that my prayers for the Cardinal, the Church and the nation will be heard.

  14. The Cardinal Law was everywhere when I discovered the internet. As an Australian I knew nothing about Law and decided to do a little research. The following is what I found on Google. I hope that the links still work:
    Cardinal Law resigned as Bishop of Boston in [13] December 2002.
    9 December 2002
    Law goes to Vatican for advice
    Discussions in about bankruptcy, lawsuits, his future
    13 December 2002 Cardinal Law resigns as archbishop of Boston

    26 February 2003 He testified [for nine hours] before a Grand Jury on

    24 July 2003
    But [attorney general] Reilly said that, though he wished it were otherwise, he could find no criminal statute under which he could prosecute church leaders, including Cardinal Bernard F. Law.

    27 May 2004
    The Vatican press office released a statement Thursday morning announcing that Cardinal Bernard F. Law was chosen for a new job in the Holy City.
    Those rumours that the Vatican whisked Law to Rome so that he could escape trial and imprisonment are untrue.

    • I have studied the Law Mahony issues extensively. St. John Paul II performed a Vatican cover up by “promoting” Law to archpriest in the Vatican. During Law’s deposition he blatantly lied as to his involvement in moving the notorious Paul Shanley, who had committed numerous rapes on young men, was a member of NAMBLA and ran a motel that catered to Gay men.

      Two stark examples of the church henchmen not referring the matters to civil court. The operative phrase here is “cover up”.

  15. If he is convicted in a just way despite the great attempts to discredit the enquiry, then i hope the author would amend his preconceptions that would defend, in blindness, and without access to the truth, the most heinous of crimes…

  16. Dear Carl,

    I am not surprised that you and most of those commenting here have reached the conclusions you have when I read the limited range of voices you are quoting from.

    One of those tells you that: “Cardinal George Pell has been one of the few exceptions, being personally responsible for almost anything and everything good that has taken place in the Church in Australia since “the mid-1990s”.”

    Without downgrading any of his good actions, George Pell has inarguably racked up plenty of transgressions.

    For example, it is a matter of record that Cardinal Pell told one victim of abuse at the hands of Fr Terrence Goodall that his claim hadn’t been substantiated by church investigators, when the investigator had actually found the complaint to be “sustained without qualification”.

    He told that same victim that no other complaint had ever been made against Fr Goodall despite having written on the same day to the family of an 11 year old boy abused by Goodall, whose complaint was sustained.

    Cardinal Pell described these actions as “a mistake”.

    Similarly he now counts as a mistake his extensive support for the serial pedophile Gerald Ridsdale who abused at least 65 children, the youngest aged 4. Such actions do nothing to foster a happy public image.

    For those who see his setting up of the Towards Healing redress and compensation scheme for victims as a virtue, I can only suggest they read more widely, starting with the transcripts of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse. Perhaps also the experiences of some accepted victims under the scheme are worth examining too.

    I do agree that Cardinal Pell has become an almost automatic hate figure among many progressives and liberal Catholics, many without any real sense of understanding of his commitment to his spiritual and moral beliefs.

    There is also some room for alarm given there has been something of a “pile on” when it comes to media coverage in Australia. But this is hardly unexpected given his position and prominence.

    And at the same time he has had plenty of defenders in the press.

    Personally I was surprised at the “late emergence” of some of the allegations of sexual assault over the years. Nonetheless they had to be tested in court.

    So what are his chances of a fair trial. Very good I should think. A number of the most serious allegations have already been struck out, some as recently as yesterday. Today the magistrate announced that George Pell would face two separate trials on the rest of the charges, to avoid contamination of the process. Another indicator that the system is working fairly.

    To suggest that a cabal of left leaning church hating bureaucrats, or of bigoted Freemason police have dictated George Pell’s date with the courts is quite simply a folly. Australia’s system of law and courts, of police and prosecutors is far less able to be influenced by political favour than that in the United States.

    Finally let me deal with the article by Julia Yost. While fashioning itself as a sober, academic and rational assessment of the Milligan book, it is anything but.
    While I consider there are errors in Milligan’s approach to the matters at hand they are nowhere near as gross or prolific as those in Yost’s method.
    The review is permeated with the kind of prejudices that can only come from having predetermined Pell’s innocence before opening the book.
    For example we are told by Yost about the first complainant when his allegation was previously assessed:
    ” We are left with Scott’s word against Pell’s. The judge at the inquiry was finally “not satisfied that the complaint [had] been established,” in view of “some valid criticism of the complainant’s credibility.”
    Nowhere does Yost mention that the judge found Scott (as well as Pell) to be a truthful witness. Instead she leaves hanging the judge’s comment that there was “some valid criticism of the complainant’s credibility”, while omitting his overall assessment of the complainant’s veracity.
    And while it is reasonable to raise historic cases of false accusation in such a context, it is manipulative to conjunct them the way Yost does.
    To draw a direct line from Philip Scott to the schizophrenic Patient Zero of the McMartin Pre-School is not only a false comparison but a crude and unwarranted smear. There are no similarities to be found between the complainants or the nature of the allegations. Moreover one case has been tested and debunked… the other hangs in the balance.

    Carl you are clearly impressed when Yost then dons a new scholarly habit: that of a biomechanics expert to somehow suggest the complaints of sexual abuse in a swimming pool are a physical impossibility.

    You say that “There is much more, which is important reading—but not easy reading, as Yost does not turn away from questions about logistics, groping, and probing.”

    It may not be easy reading Carl but it’s certainly lazy writing.
    In fact it’s the kind of easy, hyper-technical conceit that you might normally find on a “Truther” website or in a Kennedy Conspiracy analysis. Add more and more detail and they’ll believe it’s just too complex to be true!
    In reality Yost’s ability here is rather more at the standard of Jerry Seinfeld explaining the Magic Loogie, than a true guide to what did or didn’t happen during the pool games.
    Yost gives it away with sneaky references like “Nor will I dwell on the impediments presented by the boys’ clothing: drawstrings (on Dignan’s board shorts and Monument’s footy shorts) plus underwear”. Sorry Julia you just did dwell on it without any actual conclusive justification.

    Then it’s back to the conjunction game… suggesting the swimming pool allegations recall “the case of Arnold Friedman … accused by more than a dozen students of having forced them to participate in sex games, including sessions of sodomitical leap-frog.”

    Only it doesn’t recall that at all. It’s a false comparison to say that one ludicrously impossible and debunked accusation is the same as another that’s yet to be detailed in court let alone ruled on. Yost can only make such a comparison off the back of her disingenuous mumbo-jumbo biomechanical construct. She is what we call in Australia a “Bush Lawyer”.

    Yost’s expertise on child sexual assault extends to her derision at the idea that pedophiles use “sleight of hand” to commit offences in full view. Perhaps I might point to the conviction of Fr Finian Egan who indecntly assaulted a guitar playing schoolgirl on his lap in front of other unknowing students, and likewise molested another young girl sitting under a blanket on the sofa in her home as other family members passed in and out. Sleight of hand enough for you Julia?
    Some of Yost’s endless common senseisms are just not common sense.
    “People generally do not luxuriate, or execute lengthy hygienic regimens, in public showers.” she says, presumably never having been to the male changing rooms of a surf club in a warm climate country like Australia. Oh yes they do!
    Finally Yost injects her own confirmation bias in one final conjunction of dissimilar events. To that I say: “just because you perjured yourself (you say unconsciously though a lot of thought went into it) over a minor motor vehicle accident, doesn’t mean that someone on the other side of the world whose allegation an indictable offence is to be tried in court is similarly deluded”.
    To even suggest you know his motivation (“Toss this in the dossier, it might do some good”) is to confirm that your personal bias was running as hot when you wrote the article as it was at the time of the car accident.

    I could go on (oops that’s a Yostism “You can do the math”, “I won’t dwell” etc) to detail her persistent attacks on the character of the complainants … but I would expect any fair reader would see that without my guidance.

    So Carl I guess I’m saying that when it comes to making a fair reading of commentary on the Pell matter… you should get out more. Maybe start by exiting the echo chamber.

  17. He can now add “convicted paedophile” to his resume.
    I have experienced clerical abuse first hand and while my experience was relatively minor, it never the less effected me deeply. What was it Jesus said about those who harm children? Something about mill stones if memory serves me.

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