Falsely, Matilda

Further thoughts on gross injustice Down Under, in the matter of Cardinal George Pell

Australian Cardinal George Pell arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne Aug. 21, 2019. (CNS photo/AAP Images, Erik Anderson via Reuters)

Was it mere coincidence, or perhaps Providence, that Catholics around the world read Psalm 94 at Midday Prayer on August 21, hours after an appellate panel of three judges announced a 2-1 decision rejecting Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse”? For there, the Psalmist laments legal perversity in a query to God that certainly must have struck some as resembling what had just happened in Melbourne at the Supreme Court of the state of Victoria:

Can judges who do evil be your friends?
They do injustice under cover of law;
They attack the life of the just
And condemn innocent blood.

To note this striking parallelism of legal and liturgical timing is not to suggest that any of the judges on the appellate panel are evil people. But two of them, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Judge Chris Maxwell, manifestly did something unjust under cover of law, in denying Cardinal Pell’s appeal and failing to acquit him of charges that had been shown on numerous occasions to be beyond the realm of plausibility. And the most devastating criticism to that effect was leveled, not by friends of the cardinal or fellow-Catholics, but by Judge Mark Weinberg, whose dissent from the opinion of his two colleagues on the appellate panel shredded their claims and logic in such a decisive way as to set up what one must hope will be a successful appeal to the High Court of Australia, the final legal arbiter.

Judge Weinberg is recognized by knowledgeable students of the Australian justice system as the premier criminal-law jurist in the country. His brilliant, two-hundred page dissent should be read in full, but here are several crucial citations:

On the complete lack of corroboration of the complainant’s charges: In Pell’s criminal trials, the “prosecution relied entirely upon the evidence of the complainant to establish guilt, and nothing more. There was no supporting evidence of any kind at all. These convictions were based upon the jury’s assessment of the complainant as a witness, and nothing more.” That same tactic, Judge Weinberg noted, was adopted by the prosecution at the appeal hearing in June.

On the utter implausibility of the complainant’s description of the alleged abuse: “…the complainant’s account….seems to me to take brazenness to new heights, the like of which I have never seen…I would have thought that any prosecutor would be wary of bringing a charge of his gravity against anyone, based upon the implausible notion that a sexual assault of this kind would take place in public, and in the presence of numerous potential witnesses. Had the incident occurred in the way that the complainant alleged, it seems to me highly unlikely that none of those many persons present would have seen what was happening, or reported it in some way.”

Therefore: “To my mind, there is a ‘significant possibility’ that the applicant in this case [Cardinal Pell] may not have committed these offenses.” Which was, on my reading of it, Judge Weinberg’s way of saying that the convicting jury erred grievously in meeting the established legal standard of guilt being proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore the guilty verdict should have been vacated by the appellate court and the cardinal acquitted.

A Question of Presumptions?

Let us stipulate, as the lawyers say, that Chief Justice Ferguson, Judge Maxwell, and Judge Weinberg are all intelligent people. How is it, then, that two of them can look at the same sequence of events as Judge Weinberg – then-Archbishop Pell bolts from a procession at the end of High Mass in the Melbourne cathedral, escapes the notice of the other clergy in the procession, culls out two choir boys, sexually abuses them in six or eight minutes while fully vested, and then returns to the front of the cathedral to greet worshippers, all of which escapes the notice of anyone else and about which nothing is said for two decades – and come to such a radically different conclusion than that reached by Australia’s pre-eminent authority in criminal jurisprudence?

Several possibilities suggest themselves.

The first is that the charge of sexual abuse, however prima facie implausible, now trumps the traditional legal standard in the Anglosphere that innocence is presumed until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A close reading of the majority opinion supports the fear that this standard was effectively reversed in Cardinal Pell’s case, such that the onus was on him to prove his innocence. In the summary of the majority opinion she read from the bench, Chief Justice Ferguson insisted that the complainant who made the charges against the cardinal was a credible witness who seemed not to be lying.

But what, one wants to ask, about the many witnesses for the defense, who insisted that not only were the charges false but that such things simply could not have happened under the circumstances described? Chief Justice Ferguson nodded to their testimony, but the majority opinion makes clear that, in classic Orwellian fashion, some witnesses were more equal than others. This is perverse. Yet it fit neatly with attempts to get the cardinal’s liturgical master of ceremonies to state that it was theoretically possible that, on occasion, he might not have been right next to Pell before, during, and after Mass, decades ago. That theoretical possibility was conceded as purely theoretical, but the m.c. insisted that he had no positive recollection of its ever being the case and that his disappearance from the archbishop-celebrant’s side was very, very unlikely. Yet it now seems from the majority opinion that a theoretical possibility was turned into positive evidence of Cardinal Pell’s guilt, despite what Judge Weinberg noted were the “discrepancies….inconsistencies…and [lack of] probative value” in the complainant’s testimony.”

The second, and not necessarily unrelated, possibility is that Chief Justice Ferguson and Judge Maxwell were influenced in their reading of the evidence – or, in this case, lack thereof – by the assumption, widespread in the Australian media, that any Catholic cleric charged with sexual abuse, if not overtly presumed guilty, should at least be treated as such. That perversion of the common law tradition may be based on anti-Catholic bias (as it surely is among such horrors as Australian television talking-head Louise Milligan, author of a libelous book about George Pell). Or it may be based on a genuine revulsion at ecclesiastical cover-ups of sexual abuse and the fear that, if one prominent cleric “gets away with it,’ others may get away with it down the line. But whatever its roots, this presumption-of-guilt against a class of individuals has far more in common with Stalin’s persecution of the Kulaks and his other class and political enemies than it has with any recognizable notion of justice in the English-speaking world.

This second possibility is amplified by the utterly toxic public and media environment that has surrounded George Pell in Australia for decades. Americans and other Anglophones with no direct experience of this cannot really grasp how poisonous the atmosphere has been, for there is no analogue to it anywhere else in the Anglosphere. Moreover, this lethal toxicity is not a by-product of the free-for-all that is the Internet and the blogosphere, but antedates the Web and social media by decades. And it is prevalent, not just on the fringes, but at the very epicenters of Australian journalism and commentary. The suggestion implicit in the majority decision rejecting Cardinal Pell’s appeal – that this atmosphere had no discernible effect on the jury that found the cardinal guilty – beggars the imagination: not least because the trial in which Pell was convicted by a 12-0 jury ballot followed a first trial that ended with a hung jury that voted 10-2 for acquittal.

All of which suggests the strong possibility that Chief Justice Ferguson and Judge Maxwell read the situation far differently than their more distinguished colleague in criminal law, Judge Weinberg, because of distortions in the lenses by which they were reading. And those distortions produced a grave reversal of both the presumption of innocence that is the foundation of criminal law in the Anglosphere, even as they obviated the requirement that the burden of proof rests on the prosecution to persuade jurors beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Next Phase

This story is not over, by any manner of means. And as the story continues – with further investigation of the credibility of the complainant, further inquiry into the Victoria police fishing expedition against Pell that began two years before a complainant was found, and further consideration of Judge Weinberg’s devastating critique of his colleagues’ rejection of the cardinal’s appeal – it seems to me that, with a potential judgment on all this by the High Court of Australia looming on the horizon, friends of justice in Australia must now come forward with an unambiguous statement of what has long seemed obvious to many others around the world, but which has rarely been said by political, legal, and Catholic leaders Down Under: George Pell is an innocent man who was falsely accused and has been unjustly convicted of crimes he did not commit. It is not George Pell who is in the dock, now, but the administration of justice in Australia. And the only way to restore justice is for Cardinal Pell to be vindicated by the highest court in the land.

This simple but entirely defensible statement should be repeated, again and again, by responsible leaders in every professional field in Australia, and indeed by anyone and everyone Down Under who is willing to stand for the truth.

To repeat an image I have used before: this is Australia’s Dreyfus Case, and if Australia cannot find it within itself to vindicate justice by acquitting George Pell, then 21st-century Australia will find itself condemned by history to that ignominy in which the biased and mad persecutors of Alfred Dreyfus in the nineteenth century—bigots and hysterics who are global symbols of justice scorned and trampled upon – now find themselves.


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About George Weigel 234 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Fragility of Order: Catholic Reflections on Turbulent Times (Ignatius Press, 2018). His new book The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform will be published by Basic Books on September 17.

96 Comments

  1. “not to suggest that any of the judges on the appellate panel are evil people.”

    You’re a lot more charitable than I am. I suggest that in fact they are evil, because they are cooperating with evil and it appears to me to be willfully; becausse I don’t think it’s possible that they are so utterly stupid as not to be culpable.

    • I’m afraid that I have to agree with you. An Aussie friend, non-Catholic, has been wringing her hands over this case for some time. This decision was entirely predictable. Australia is going down a dark road, and presumption of guilt fits neatly into the increasingly far far left bent of the judicial system. She’s frightened for her country and so am I. This decision flies in the face of logic and in its zeal to meet an agenda, the two other judges have to be either stupid, which I doubt, or evil, which seems to be the only logical conclusion.

    • Aug. 23rd: Why is Pope Francis not supporting Cardinal Pell as he did others who were accused … he brought some of them to the Vatican and put them in his circle of friends…what about Cdl. Pell???

      • The reenactment of Pontius Pilate again isn’t it? The washing of hands again by the hierarchy The mob then set out to crucify the Cardinal, in the hope of bringing down the Catholic Church, just like they thought putting an end to Jesus would get rid of the Christians. Silence is deafening. We can only pray and fast in private, and we must not give up. Our Lady will surely keep him safe and healthy.

    • Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Judge Chris Maxwell are evildoers. They are LIARS. They knew and believed Cardinal Pell’s conviction to be unsustainable, yet they didn’t have the integrity of Pontius Pilate, who at least declared our Lord to be innocent before condemning Him.

    • Leslie, Mr Weigel and others, consider this:
      Can Priests, Bishops, Cardinals who do evil be your friends?
      They do injustice under cover upholding canon law and correct dogma,
      They attack the life of the just
      And condemn innocent children.

      • Christopher, you are once again ignoring the entire point, which is that Cardinal Pell was convicted of a crime on the bare word of one person whose story is so full of holes that we believe that he is, wittingly or unwittingly, lying.

        It seems that the Cardinal was convicted by a jury of people who, like you, ignored the intellect and went straight to emotionalism. “Oh, how terrible! How awful! We must believe the victim because he’s a victim, and we know he’s a victim because he says he’s a victim, and because the crime he’s accusing the Cardinal of committing is just so horrible! Also his friend was a victim even though the friend told his mother he wasn’t a victim!”

        “They do injustice under cover upholding canon law and correct dogma”

        So that’s the problem, is it? You hate that Cardinal Pell upheld canon law and correct dogma, and therefore you’re willing to believe anything evil about him of which anybody decides to accuse him?

        • Leslie Re your: Christopher, you are once again ignoring the entire point, which is that Cardinal Pell was convicted of a crime on the bare word of one person whose story is so full of holes that we believe that he is, wittingly or unwittingly, lying..
          He was indeed wittingly!!!!!!… The accuser is a LIAR!

    • Leslie answer this question please . How can you justify your comment when you have not heard the complainants evidence?

      • Easily. I’ve read enough about the “evidence” (which consists entirely of “because I said so”) to see that reasonable doubts are milling about in great thronging hordes; and anybody who doesn’t see them seems to me to be acting in very bad faith. To be generous, I will allow for the possibility that it is generalized stupidity rather than merely stupid bigotry and prejudice.

        And Justice Weinberg, who had access to the recordings of the trial and to the transcripts wrote quite firmly that he cannot in good conscience agree to let stand a decision that he considers unjust because the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt was not met. Incidentally, the testimony that he quotes supports the articles Mr. Weigel has written; he represented the arguments fairly.

        • Leslie, how could you hear enough about the evidence when the only people to hear the evidence where those directly involved in the court proceedings? Your conviction is based on hearsay.

          • As I pointed out, I had read about the evidence, and now I’ve read the excerpts from the transcript that were included in the appellate court’s decision, and they agreed with each other.

            Your defense of the conviction is based on hearsay, since you, I gather, were not involved in the court hearings. Or were you?

          • Judge Mark Weinberg did not base his lengthly dissenting opinion on hearsay. He had access to ALL of the evidence presented in the trial. Your OPINIONS on this case count for nothing unless you can show where he was wrong in his dissent. Claiming the fact that he was outvoted proves nothing, for the reasons listed in this article.

  2. I think the real explanation is much simpler: the majority justices are typical leftist ideologues in the Stalinist mode, dedicated to the party line first, last and always, even if it must preempt justice and the law.

  3. The justice system in the Australian state of Victoria pronounces verdicts and passes sentences NOT on the basis of evidence or corroboration, but on the basis of how judges FEEL (!) about implausible and unsubstantiated allegations. This is a caricature of justice, submitting defendants to the subjective biases and prejudices of the judges. A very dark day indeed for Australia.

  4. If Cardinal Pell has been cast into the role of Dreyfus, perhaps someone will come forward to assume role of Emile Zola.

    • He would be better cast in the role of Cardinal Joszef Mindszenty or of Cardinal Aloyzije Stepinac.

      Speaking of Cardinal Mindszenty: There are two excellent films about the kangaroo-court “show trial” and the persecution of His Eminence by the Communists. One was made in the U.S. (“Guilty of Treason”), and the other, even better, was made in England (“The Prisoner,” starring Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins, and directed by Peter Glenville).

  5. The witnesses who were less equal than the complainant were NOT witnesses for the prosecution. They were called by the Prosecution as Prosecution witnesses, but none of them supported the Prosecution’s case, so the Prosecution ended up saying it all came down to whether the jury found the complainant to be a credible witness or not.

    The defence did not call any witnesses – it just cross-examined all the prosecution witnesses to show how implausible the allegations were.

    If either of the two majority Appeal Judges (and any of the mainstream media commenting) had ever been to Sunday Mass in a Cathedral they would know how fanciful the allegation is.

    • The other bizarre thing is that the “witness/victim” was allowed to do a video appearance. That’s one of the reasons Pell didn’t testify, because there was going to be no cross of the witness/victim, who actually never appeared.

      • Yes, it’s odd: the testimony at the second trial was just a video of the first trial (including cross-examination) but with no opportunity to bring up any other questions, as far as I can tell.

  6. Attorneys commenting on Mr. Wiegel’s essays on the Pell appeal decision have noted that the Australian legal system has crude and very low standards, far below the standards of western civilization:

    1 – uncorroborated testimony: the law in Victoria was quoted by an attorney in comment at First Things, stating the even if a witness’ testimony is uncorroborated, the judge is explicitly PROHIBITED from warning the jury; and

    2 – reasonableness: the standard in the West (from ancient Jewish and Roman legal tradition) is that a man is innocent unless the charge is proven BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Australian law rejects this protection against injustice. Australian law allows a man to be convicted simply if the charge could reasonably be possible. In fact, the commenting attorney quoted words to that effect by the 2 appeal judges were used in their decision.

    So Cardinal Pell WAS LITERALLY ON TRIAL IN A KANGAROO COURT.

    And the criminals in the Vatican and the Church who wanted to take Pell down to stop his audit were very fortunate that Pell came from the perfect place to find a liar to charge Pell and make it stick: Australia.

    The case would never have even been attempted in a country with at least some semblance of a civilized legal system.

    If the situation in Australia is as these commenting attorneys describe, it seems that Mr. Wiegel is missing some key weaknesses in this case, and failing to understand his own narrative, because he is looking at this from his perspective here in the US.

    • You have misunderstood what MPS said. Let’s be clear about this.

      1) Australian law does NOT prohibit convicting a person solely on the basis of one uncorroborated witness. Most jurisdictions in the world DO allow such convictions, because there are times when only one person is there to see the crime. So Australia is not unusual at all in this respect. As a matter of fact, a lot of sexual abuse cases and rape cases are this way. A lot of abusers and rapists would simply go free if this were not the case.

      2) The only thing that Australian law prohibits is the Judge COMMENTING to the jury about the fact that the witness testimony is uncorroborated. If the judge were to be allowed to do this, in almost all cases, the jurors would take this as an instruction from the judge that they were supposed to disregard any witness testimony that is uncorroborated. That is NOT the state of the law, and therefore many jurisdictions find it wise to prohibit the judge from commenting on this fact, because in almost all cases, the juror will misunderstand.

      Second, the standard for conviction in Australia is beyond a reasonable doubt, just as it is in the US, England and most other countries. I am afraid that MPS’s post was very arcane and was liable to be misinterpreted by most people. His bringing up biblical standards, old Roman law standards was just causing people to misunderstand what was going on. He was doing a bit of historical survey of the various standards throughout time. I am afraid that this was misinterpreted.

    • Mr. Weigel makes the very important point that a thorough investigation must take place – of the complainant’s credibility, and of the police fishing expedition that brought him forward. Who requested that this fishing expedition take place? It must all come out in the open.

      • A thorough investigation of the complainant’s credibility has already taken place in the court room, the legal process that Mr Weigel refuses to accept as a credible and legitimate process.

          • Fishing expedition? Last winter I caught a gummy shark on the full moon each time I went to my favourite fishing mark just after low tide. I knew from years of observation, research and the testimony of other keen anglers that it was a great spot do a little fishing, and sure enough my effort was rewarded

          • Yes, fishing expedition. They decided that he must be guilty of something, and for over a year went hunting for somebody who would accuse him. That isn’t how justice works. If the police decide that you are guilty of something and post ads asking for anybody willing to accuse you, I’d bet money they’d find at least one person.

            I can just see you at Calvary. “Well, He’s been accused of inciitng people to rebellion. That is a terrible thing, and I know that there have been people who have done that. Therefore He must be guilty and anybody who says He’s not is playing politics.”

  7. One hears echoes of Cardinal George’s lament in this persecution.
    The land “down under” is a very strange place.
    They are so crazy that they despise God and worship Gaia to the point of destroying their electrical system and their economy.
    Apparently the dodo bird is nit extinct.

    • This reply is for Leslie who above has implied i am of the crowd who would condemn Jesus. Apart from this mention of it, I choose to leave that comment alone. Now regarding “Operation Tethering” referred to as a fishing expedition, I submit this article for her perusal. Its from The Australian Newspaper, considered by many to be “of the conservative side”.
      https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/how-all-hell-broke-loose-over-police-investigation-of-pell/news-story/9523865e354d779143e911368d43ce2e

      https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/how-all-hell-broke-loose-over-police-investigation-of-pell/news-story/9523865e354d779143e911368d43ce2e

      • I didn’t say you are of the crowd who would condemn Jesus, but rather that you would have said, “Well, there was a legal process and He was condemned, and therefore He must be guilty.”

        The article to which you linked is behind a paywall.

        I maintain that if the police decide that someone must have committed a crime and go hunting for a person to accuse him, it is an injustice.

          • Mr. Hallam, I have never said that there was no abuse, so I’m not sure why you think that article is some kind of argument against what I have been saying.

            Absolutely nothing in any of the articles has anything to do with the fact that Operation Tethering was an abuse of power and a miscarriage of justice. And nothing in the articles has anything to do with the travesty of justice that was the trial of Cardinal Pell and the decision of two of the judges in the court of appeals, whose standard was not “beyond a reasonable doubt” but “it wasn’t absolutely impossible that it happened, if you ignore the testimony of a whole bunch of witnesses.”

            I noticed this in the article: “Child sexual abuse in institutions continues today. We were told of many cases of abuse that occurred in the last 10 to 15 years in a range of institutions, including schools, religious institutions, foster and kinship care, respite care, health and allied services, performing arts institutions, childcare centres and youth groups.”

            It is terrible that such abuse happens. And every single person tried for abuse is entitled to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence unless the case is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

            Tell me something: You keep saying “You weren’t at the trial, you don’t know what was really said there!” If you were to watch the videos of the entire trial, or read the entire transcript, and discover that the information that has been reported in the various articles condemning Cardinal Pell’s conviction is accurate – that is, that the accuser’s story has shifted over time, and that the testimony of other witnesses contradicts his claims (e.g. that the sacristy in which he says he was assaulted was a hive of activity after Mass, with people going in and out and was locked at other times; that the wine for Communion was locked up; that two choristers could not have let the procession without being noticed; that the Cardinal always spent time after Mass meeting and greeting parishioners; that the Cardinal was always accompanied, and so on) – would you still insist that on the unsupported word of one person, contradicted by many others, the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell is guilty?

  8. Dear George,

    May I suggest to you that I am convinced that we could build a striking parallel between what happens to Cardinal Pell, as you are currently describing it, and the trial of Joan of Arc, for the analysis of which I could bring you some help from the french side.
    If interested, please let me know so that we can prolong that discussion.
    My best to you,

  9. Thank you Mr.George Weigel, for the informed and articulate sharing ,with the heartfelt just outrage about this event which serves also as an icon of the errors and evil in the carrying out of the law , in courts world over , who seem to have come very much under the dragon with its seven heads and ten horns !
    On this Feast Day of St.Rose of Lima , was good to have come across this page , elaborating on what it means to love God with our mind –
    https://www.universalis.com/-600/today.htm (had not really understood the point , when Pope Emeritus Benedict raised this about Islam 🙂
    Islam , having had forced converts in early days and from their dedication may be , was blessed with more left over wisdom in those days , later , losing even the little and now our Holy Father , possibly also inspired and moved through intercession of St.John Paul 11 as well, wanting to bless them with more of that Godly wisdom and charity , in truth .
    The enemy possibly outraged as well about same and may be taking out that
    rage , in instigating persons into falsehoods at all levels as well .
    Some of the earlier upheavels in The Church as well, after incursions into pagan lands , for bringing the faith – very likely also in that same realm as well .

    https://www.marian.org/news/He-Keeps-One-Eye-to-the-Heavens-3439 – thank God that we have The Church to help us discern what is false and frivolous or from the Father’s Heart , with its wisdom and tenderness !
    May the graces of The Crown of Thorns be given us all, to undo the enemy lies and its pride , for The Spirit to take charge at all levels .
    Blessings !

  10. If 3 Judges cannot come to a unanimous decision concerning “Reasonable doubt” then their collective position is prima facia admission of reasonable doubt. If Australia’s High Court does get to decide the case, then the position of the Judge/s – who find themselves on the wrong side of the High Court – is untenable and they should actually be struck off. A Judge who cannot reach a trusted/unimpeachable assessment of “Reasonable doubt” has no place being a Judge.

    Whilst having no personal legal or psychology training whatsoever it seems to me that the complainant evidences false memory – most people have some such memories. Such memories (perhaps originating as a dream, or as a response to some film, or some literature, as response to someone else’s experiences) can become hardened and increasingly vivid as a result of unconnected stress and/or anxiety. There may well thus be no malice on the part of the complainant and no further psychoses requiring professional intervention – one does not have to exhibit regular hallucinations to be mis-recalling a single specific event. The “discrepancies….inconsistencies…and [lack of] probative value” of the complainants evidence point this way. And at least 2 Judges do not see this!!

    • Adrian-

      While your judgment is very sound…the actual standard in Australia is apparently not “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      An attorney commenting over at First Things has quoted the laws in Victoria and Australia, showing:

      A – Victoria law admits uncorroborated testimony of one witness, against the entire legal tradition of western civilization, and even prohibits a judge from warning the jury about this; and

      B – the 2 judges against Pell in their reasoning were quoted NOT concluding that the evidence was beyond a reasonable doubt, but that a person could reasonably conclude that the crime might have occurred.

      We are bl seed not to live in Australia, which as far as law is concerned is an UNJUST, outlaw country.

      • You are mixing several things up, but rest assured that you have misunderstood the state of the law in Australia. The standard on appeal is different than the standard in the trial court. The trial court jury must believe that the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The appellate court’s job is very different than the trial court. The appellate court is to decide whether the trial court made some error of law in its proceedings. It is not to re-decide the facts as decided by the jury. The appellate court could quite rightly decide that no obvious error was made by the jury. Its job is not to see if they agree with the jury’s finding of fact. Here, it appears the only room left for the appellate court was whether the jury’s decision was so manifestly false as to be impossible for a jury to decide in the way that it did.

        Could a jury find that they believed the kid over the cardinal? Yes, it was possible. I am afraid that most do not understand that the trial court has lots of latitude to decide what the true state of facts is, and the appellate court’s job is not to retry the case. It is to decide whether the jury really came to an impossible decision. Not to substitute their decision for the jury’s determination.

        That being said, the trial was a travesty of justice. But it was so because of the way the prosecutors decided to try this very weak and extremely unlikely case. It was a travesty because of the public campaign of the media to “get” Cardinal Pell such that the prosecutors might have felt they must charge or be denounced and ruined by the media. It was a travesty because the trial judge should have made certain rulings that he did not. Placing the blame on the simple fact that the judge is prohibited from commenting on the evidence in some cases simply confuses things. The blame lies in Australian society as a whole, a country which has decided to hate Christians and put them in prison for no other reason than they are Christian. Focusing on the appellate court is not the right place to focus

  11. At once chilling and a consoling yesterday at mid-day prayer.
    Thoughtful and sober analysis here and very much appreciated. God reward Mr. Weigel.

  12. A travesty of justice and very sad indictment of the Cardinal, more so in his advanced age. Throughout Christian history very many innocent saints have faced such situations and many had to pay with their lives. May God our Father grant the Cardinal abundant strength to face these trials and pray that he will stand vindicated by the Australian High Court.

  13. I think he is being used as a scapegoat by the Vatican ’til American Catholic journalists stop investigating bonafide sexual crimes in our Church hierarchy. We won’t; we can’t, as Robert Royal assured us last night on “The World Over.” If Cardinal Pell dies in jail, and I hope he is released soon, I pray his sacrifice will help to spurn a cleanup and a cleanout of our homo-mafia infected Church. I believe and pray his sacrifice will not be in vain.

  14. Mr Weigel, you shall be known by the fruit of your actions. Sowing seeds division, misconception and manipulation and outright lies. This is toxic as are most of the comments above. I am not commenting from a Conservative / Traditionalist polemic, nor a Left / Right polemic.
    Look at what you are feeding in the people that respond to your article and repent. Where is the accountability here? Who is the Priest the Bishop, the authority that allows this poison to be proliferated in the name of the Catholic Church?

    • Christopher,
      Have read your comments with interest and appreciation. If indeed you feel that the judgement against Cardinal Pell is justified, I would like to see a concise statement of your reasoning processes. I don’t particularly know all the past details or support the individual especially given some other comments and he may not be the saint that we have been given to believe .but certainly as we have been presented with the evidence in the US there has been a terrible miscarriage of justice. As regards separation of church and state, this does not preclude the individual concerned Catholic or non-Catholic from supporting boycotting efforts to produce justice and prevent violation of human rights . Indeed this to some might be considered an obligation. Regarding Pine Gap intelligence, hopefully this benefits all but certainly brings revenue into Australia that I suspect could go elsewhere. Thanks for you comments.

      • Thanks Gerald. I have no great insights into the legal process to offer that would convince anyone of the Cardinals guilt. That has not been my aim. Simply, I accept the rule of law. I accept the legal process that Cardinal Pell was subject to wether he was found guilty of innocent of the crimes he was on trial for. The determination of Mr Weigel to undermine the legal process is to me disturbing given the weight of the matter. The fact that Mr Weigel paints a picture of toxic anti Catholicism to support his argument while leaving his American readers ignorant of the back story of abuse in Ballarat and the Archdioces of Melbourne, both areas of responsibility for Cardinal Pell. I have no problem with him being a loyal and true friend of Cardinal Pell. Those who suffered abuse will be reading these pages. They need to know they will be heard and believed, that a more complete picture of the dynamic of Cardinal Pells trial and the Australian situation will be presented. Others have spoken of the complications of abuse trials where the victim is the only witness. Nuanced and thoughtful discussion is beyond Mr Weigel it seems. My question to him is what really is at stake in this matter for him and what he represents? Here are some articles to read that I hope address, in a carefully considered manner, your query of my reasoning :
        https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/distinctly-catholic/pell-verdict-various-shades-justice
        https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/pell-martyr

        • Christopher,
          You know, I read comment sections on various websites and contribute to them from time to time.
          I’ve found it helpful not to provide links from just one political side of the spectrum. Even when the articles are worthwhile it always gives a partisan flavor and readers are less likely to give the material fair consideration.
          We’ve had a terrible pedophile case very close to home and a couple others on the periphery. I find it difficult to believe that conservative Catholics once familiar with deviancy will look for excuses as to why a traditional/orthodox Catholic priest cannot be guilty of sexual crimes.
          Perhaps the first time, but afterwards you realize it’s an equal opportunity disorder. We’re not as naive as one might think.

        • “Simply, I accept the rule of law. I accept the legal process that Cardinal Pell was subject to wether he was found guilty of innocent of the crimes he was on trial for.”

          Your faith in the legal process is sweetly touching. Not very smart, but touching. The Salem witch trials? No problem, it was a legal process. Lindy Chamberlain? Same thing.

          “My question to him is what really is at stake in this matter for him and what he represents?”

          I would think it obvious that what is at stake is that he believes that an innocent man has been railroaded. A friend he has known for decades has been convicted of a heinous crime on the basis of testimony so absurd that anybody who didn’t have a reasonable doubt was utterly unreasonable; and it was done in an atmosphere of spiteful, hate-filled people bleating, “Well, but I know that some clergy have committed abuse and I really don’t like Cardinal Pell so he should be found guilty.”

          • “Well, but I know that some clergy have committed abuse and I really don’t like Cardinal Pell so he should be found guilty.” Again, as you have done several times, by implication you put words in my mouth revealing who you think I am and what my motivation is. You have no clue as to who I am nor as to why I am determined to communicate in the manner I have done in these discussions regarding Cardinal Pell. Your contributions to these discussions are a clear and undeniable example of the dangers of trial in the court of public opinion. I am sorry to say this as I have endeavoured to not make an example of you as I assume your motives are honourable. I have left many of you inconsistencies alone and unchallenged, while you persistently reply to my comments and in doing so reveal shortcomings in you ability to have a well reasoned and well thought out perspective. In many of my contributions I have provided legitimate references to established and verifiable examples to support my position and yes you have said nothing of these. For example the meeting with concerned parishioners with Cardinal Pell, the testimony of a parish priest and earlier, the letter Helen Last provided that was proof of a cover up in Doveton. I ask you now that you please read those examples and prepare you response in the discussions where they occur. You have been so diligent in perusing this communication that I’m sure you know where they occur but if needed I will compile the list of where they are.

          • ““Well, but I know that some clergy have committed abuse and I really don’t like Cardinal Pell so he should be found guilty.” Again, as you have done several times, by implication you put words in my mouth revealing who you think I am and what my motivation is. “

            I am characterizing arguments made by you and others, and not quoting directly, as should be obvious to even the meanest intelligence. I don’t care who you are or what your motivation is, except in the sense that who you are seems to be someone who does not believe in the presumption of innocence.

            “You have no clue as to who I am nor as to why I am determined to communicate in the manner I have done in these discussions regarding Cardinal Pell.”

            Neither of those things is relevant to the issue of whether Cardinal Pell was unjustly convicted or not.

            “Your contributions to these discussions are a clear and undeniable example of the dangers of trial in the court of public opinion.”

            That, coming from you, is laughable, and a clear example of the need to remove the beam from one’s own eye.

            “I am sorry to say this as I have endeavoured to not make an example of you as I assume your motives are honourable. “

            How kind of you. I’ll accept your motives are honorable, but the problem is that you seem unable to understand simple concepts like the presumption of innocence and that if someone is on trial for committing a crime, one looks at the evidence related to that crime.

            “I have left many of you inconsistencies alone and unchallenged,”

            Don’t. If you see any inconsistencies, challenge them, with specifics.

            “while you persistently reply to my comments and in doing so reveal shortcomings in you ability to have a well reasoned and well thought out perspective. “

            You definition of “ability to have a well reasoned and well thought perspective” appears to be “You have to agree with me! You *have* to! Or else your perspective is poorly reasoned and poorly thought!”

            “In many of my contributions I have provided legitimate references to established and verifiable examples to support my position and yes you have said nothing of these. For example the meeting with concerned parishioners with Cardinal Pell, the testimony of a parish priest and earlier, the letter Helen Last provided that was proof of a cover up in Doveton. I ask you now that you please read those examples and prepare you response in the discussions where they occur.”

            This trial was about whether Cardinal Pell, before Christmas 1996 but just over a month apart, whoops, no, wait, make that on the 15th or 22nd of December 1996 and ummmm – February 23, 1997, yeah, that’s it, February 23 – committed certain offenses in the Cathedral of Melbourne.

            The links you provided had nothing to do with the charges for which Cardinal Pell was tried, so I have no reason to say anything about them, and there is no reason for me to “prepare a response.”

            If you, or the people in the links you provided, believe that Cardinal Pell committed crimes, and you have evidence of it, then talk to the police about it. They’ve shown that they’re more than willing to go out hunting for accusers, so I’m sure they’ll be eager to help.

            “You have been so diligent in perusing this communication that I’m sure you know where they occur but if needed I will compile the list of where they are.”

            Don’t bother. They’re irrelevant.

  15. Imports to US from Australia amounted to 10.1 billion in 2018. Would recommend that all Catholics who believe in Cardinal Pell’s innocence refrain from purchasing any goods from Australia and let merchants know that they are pursuing this action because of the human rights violation and miscarriage of justice being perpetrated in Australia. Would also refrain from any tourist travel to Australia including using Australia as a base for cruises again letting the cruise companies know their concerns. Would also petition President Trump to recall all US troops from Australia and close the US base until the problem is resolved.

    • Gerald, for an educated man one would think a better understanding of the First Amendment regarding the separation of church and state. May I also inform you that the Pine Gap US base in Central Australia is more for your country’s benefit than ours. It is a blight on our moral landscape as a nation in the fact that it played an integral role in the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent men women and children of Iraq, what is referred to as collateral damage in the USA. Not to mention the use of waterboarding by your Government. Frankly I would be overjoyed if The USA pulled its military bases out of Australia. Bring it on!

    • Close down your bases on our land–Pine Gap and North-West Cape? What a bonzer idea. You little ripper, mate. I give that one the thumbs up.

  16. A travesty from the word ‘go’, spoken from the time of the Vatican bank events:
    “This story is not over, by any manner of means. And as the story continues – with further investigation of the credibility of the complainant, further inquiry into the Victoria police fishing expedition against Pell that began two years before a complainant was found, and further consideration of Judge Weinberg’s devastating critique of his colleagues’ rejection of the cardinal’s appeal – it seems to me that, with a potential judgment on all this by the High Court of Australia looming on the horizon, friends of justice in Australia must now come forward with an unambiguous statement of what has long seemed obvious to many others around the world, but which has rarely been said by political, legal, and Catholic leaders Down Under: George Pell is an innocent man who was falsely accused and has been unjustly convicted of crimes he did not commit. It is not George Pell who is in the dock, now,…”

    Two years to “find” a complainant? No help from Rome for that, then?

    • O Christopher PLEASE ..quoting from the ‘The Age’ .. one of the most anti Catholic papers in Australia! Thankfully after 30 years plus in Melbourne I don’t have to see it anymore! Why didn’t you offer these U.S. readers some of the many articles published since last Thursday in our national paper ‘The Australian’ which are FAR more balanced? As you must surely know,many senior legal figures in Australia are rightly voicing great disquiet over this case which has all the hallmarks of the Lindy Chamberlain case .. still a blight on our legal system after 30 years. Gordon Carter. Adelaide. South Australia.

      • Gordon, thank you for posting this. I thought I remembered that someone had pointed out the “The Age” wasn’t a very good source, but I couldn’t be certain that my memory was correct.

  17. say whatever you like, but the trial judge refusing to allow the defense to cross-examine the accuser in person is reason enough to vacate the jury’s verdict.

    • In fairness, it was only at the second trial that there was no cross-examination, since all that happened was, from what I’ve read, that they replayed the testimony from the first trial. Nonetheless, it seems very odd.

    • Wrong! Your knowledge on Australian court proceedings relating to matters of sexual abuse is indeed severely limited if this is your take on Cardinal Pells trial. An article such as this written by Mr Weigel should include research and information resulting from the exhaustive work the royal commission has undertaken yet to see it mentioned! Mr Weigel in his commentary needs to take into consideration the findings of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.
      Here is a cut and paste from the section titled Criminal justice report: Executive summary and Parts I and II (PDF)
      https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/file-list/final_report_-_criminal_justice_report_-_executive_summary_and_parts_i_to_ii.pdf
      The importance of video recorded interviews for children and other vulnerable
      witnesses should be recognised, as these interviews usually form all, or most,
      of the complainant’s and other relevant witnesses’ evidence in chief in
      any prosecution.
      d. Investigative interviewing of children and other vulnerable witnesses should
      be undertaken by police with specialist training. The specialist training should
      focus on:
      i. a specialist understanding of child sexual abuse, including institutional child sexual
      abuse, and the developmental and communication needs of children and other
      vulnerable witnesses
      ii. skill development in planning and conducting interviews, including use
      of appropriate questioning techniques.
      e. Specialist police should undergo refresher training on a periodical basis to ensure
      that their specialist understanding and skills remain up to date and accord with
      current research.
      f. From time to time, experts should review a sample of video recorded interviews with
      children and other vulnerable witnesses conducted by specialist police for quality assurance
      and training purposes and to reinforce best-practice interviewing techniques.
      g. State and territory governments should introduce legislation to remove any
      impediments, including in relation to privacy concerns, to the use of video recorded
      interviews so that the relevant police officer, his or her supervisor and any persons
      engaged by police in quality assurance and training can review video recorded
      interviews for quality assurance and training purposes. This should not authorise the
      use of video recorded interviews for general training in a manner that would raise
      privacy concerns.

      • The above comment is in reply to Eddie’s statement: “say whatever you like, but the trial judge refusing to allow the defense to cross-examine the accuser in person is reason enough to vacate the jury’s verdict.”

  18. Once again, commentators from the right (neo-Calvinist) wing of the Roman Catholic Church appear to be quite intentionally overlooking the fact that there were 3 questions before the court regarding Pell’s conviction. While Mr. Justice Ferguson did vote in dissent on 1 count, he voted with the majority on the other 2. The entire court could have voted in dissent with Justice Ferguson and Pell would, rightly, still spend 3 or 4 years in prison.

    One comment that Dr. Weigel makes is absolutely correct when he describes “the utterly toxic public and media environment that has surrounded George Pell in Australia for decades.” I had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time in Australia while working as a U.S. Department of Defense contractor. By every account, Pell was an angry, vindictive, niggling, and perpetually aggrieved, old queen. Loathed not because of his theology or position on the fascistic right of Australian politics (and the Roman Catholic Church), but because he gave no evidence of the Faith, Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, and Charity, evinced by a follower of Jesus Christ.

    • “By every account,”

      What, *every* one?

      “Pell was an angry, vindictive, niggling, and perpetually aggrieved, old queen.”

      Please provide some evidence (other than the Victoria justice standard of “because I said so”) and some examples to support your claim.

      “Loathed not because of his theology or position on the fascistic right of Australian politics (and the Roman Catholic Church),”

      Ah, the Tolerant Left is out at play again. Insults with no evidence and no support; and anybody to the right of Stalin is a “fascist,” as is any Catholic who is less Modernist than Alfred Loisy.

      “but because he gave no evidence of the Faith, Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, and Charity, evinced by a follower of Jesus Christ.”

      Snort. Coming from you, that’s rich.

    • Also, since you seem to be posting the same thing across several articles, I will repeat my reply:

      No; the *appeal* was based on three points, and the two that the justices agreed on were procedural matters.

      “They were unanimous in dismissing two other grounds, regarding procedural matters: one that alleged Pell’s arraignment did not follow protocol, and the other raising a complaint that an animation of the cathedral where Pell was alleged to have sexually abused to choir boys was not permitted to be shown during closing arguments.”

    • Mr. Busby,
      I have no idea what the actual facts are in this case & suspect that Cardinal Pell & his accuser alone possess those.
      Your comments certainly do nothing to dispel the feelings of others here that there was a general atmosphere of bias surrounding the proceedings.

  19. Today taking stock of this debate that has been going on for the past few days, it seems to me that Christopher Hallam has been the most persistent among the minority who have argued that there has not been a gross miscarriage of justice in Australia in the Cardinal Pell case. Yet he has signally failed to answer George Weigel’s principal charge, namely that Cardinal Pell was convicted, and his appeal against his conviction rejected, solely and crucially on the testimony of one complainant. Moreover, in his contribution of August 23: 2 50 pm, he resorts to rather nasty vituperation of George Weigel. Earlier, he also blamed George Weigel for not seeming to recognize that shocking cases of abuse by Catholic clergy have taken place in Australia – an utterly lame point, implying that Cardinal Pell deserved to be convicted because of the crimes committed by others.
    Randell Franklyn Busby’s comments of August 24 are, again, highly vituperative and offensive. In contrast, Leslie, with her generally reasonable contributions, deserves congratulations from all those seeking for truth and justice in this lamentable affair.

    • Well said David.I wouldn’t take Randell Franklyn Busby’s ‘description’ of Cardinal Pell seriously. I doubt even the Cardinal’s most trenchant critic would agree with it! Yes, as a commentator here has said “there have been shocking cases of abuse in Australia” but I think the operative words are “have been.” Let me quote from the ‘Spectator Australia’. “In the popular mind, Ballarat diocese (where the worse abuse took place) is Abuse Central. Except that it’s not. For the news that you won’t hear is that for more than 20 years there has not been one single reported abuse allegation anywhere in the diocese. Not one. Bishop Peter Connors was appointed to the diocese in 1997 … he retired in 2012 without having been presented with even one complaint of abuse from anywhere in his huge diocese. And there have been none since.” This is most certainly not the image your average Australian would pick up from our local media!

  20. mrscracker,
    Thank you for reading the link. Yes it is indeed a shame how politics & partisanship play such a part in all this. It is not hard to find commentary that is dismissive of Louise Milligan’s book. I haven’t read it and I don’t need to. Due diligence would require the Catholic leaders and aurthors of the articles on Cardinal Pell here to maybe do a little fact finding. I linked to the article in The Sydney Morning Herald because of the specific cases mentioned. Firstly lets look at the case Fr Kevin O’Donnell mentioned in the article. Among the many offences he committed where some while he was at Oakley Sacred Heart parish. My uncle was an active member of the parish and served on the parish council. In striving to avoid politics & partisanship may i provide this link to establish the fact of his abuse. Please read: https://kelsolawyers.com/au/paedophile-offenders-father-kevin-odonnell/

    and this website lists the littany of abuse: http://www.brokenrites.org.au/archives/nletter/page124-odonnell.html

    and Cardinal Pell Kenw of this. There is the testomony of Father Noel Brady mentioned in the article. It seems easy for the authoritative writers here to dismiss the Milligan book outright, not so easy to dismiss Fr Noel Brady’s testimony.

    Give him a call:
    http://www.rskingspark.catholic.edu.au/our-school/28/p/welcome-from-fr-noel/

    and a submission to the Parliament of Victoria by Chrissy and Anthony Foster from Oakley South:
    https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/fcdc/inquiries/57th/Child_Abuse_Inquiry/Submissions/Anthony__Chrissie_Foster_Supplmenary_submission.pdf

    So my question remains unanswered while i attempt in good faith to answer the questions put to me. Why is due diligence lacking? Why are the trusted authoritative commentators here misleading the readership and facilitating ignorance and prejudice?

    • None of which has anything at all to do with whether Cardinal Pell committed the crimes for which he was tried, or whether there was sufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he did (hint: no, there wasnt’).

    • Thank you again, Mr. Hallam for sharing those links. It all gives me a better idea of what type of atmosphere prevails currently in Australia & the events behind that -which is helpful, but it doesn’t reveal any more info. re. the specific charges Cardinal Pell was convicted of.
      I read The Guardian occasionally but it’s a pretty hard-left leaning publication.
      I think we all need to be very cautious in our assumptions of what type of person might pose a danger to our children. We each tend to look with suspicion at categories of persons who have views or lifestyles we oppose, but we have a blind spot for those who more closely resemble ourselves.

    • Accepted Christopher ..THANK YOU.
      Sadly these whole series of trials have dreadfully divided Australians …
      Cheers.
      Gordon.

      • So it seems to be the case that an opinion or even presented facts will be seen or interpreted as being of the left or the right, liberal or conservative! I want to let it be known that I view myself as a no body from no mans land.

        • I have mentioned elsewhere of the Royal Commision Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It has a wealth of information for us to ponder as a faith community. Here is a link to the web page:
          https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/

          There was some reporting in the Newcastle Herald reporting from the findings of the Royal Commission that sheds light on the Police Departments relationship with the Catholic Heirachy in the years before and leading up to Cardinal Pells arrest and conviction. from the article:

          Royal commission chair Justice Peter McClellan summed up well why institutional child sexual abuse continued for so long in this country, in one of his final speeches before the final report was made public. Police in Sydney and Melbourne had an “understanding … for many years” about protecting church figures accused of child sex allegations, Justice McClellan said.

          This “understanding” reflected a broader view that the community would suffer if its “pillars” were exposed as criminals, so that “assumed stability of society was seen to be more important than the protection of the child or justice for children through the prosecution of offenders”, he said.

          It was “impossible not to share the anger” many survivors feel because of the extent of the institutional betrayal, which included “some of our most important state instrumentalities”, Justice McClellan said.

          https://www.smh.com.au/national/pell-20190313-p513ya.html

          Yes we had a royal commission! Thank God! Still……….poor Ballarat.

  21. This is what I think… Australia is too shamed to acknowledge its mistake after boasting a country who caught international figure committing crime, so they have to put Cardinal Pell in jail for their pride. This is my prediction … one or may be two decades later, an intelligent and courageous person with a just mind, will discovery the huge mistake so called justice system did to Cardinal Pell. May God have mercy and forgive the evil we do to one another

  22. May I take another line?
    Cardinal George Pell is a Christian and in the full spectrum of the moral law is witnessed to be and remains of good character in being what might be called a good person.
    He has been blunt to the point of rudeness and as diplomatic and courteous to Rainbow Sash people as could possibly expected, human like us.

    He avows before all that he did not commit these crimes, did not do these acts and maintains that despite two trials and an appeal.
    I believe him.
    I watched my nation permit and endorse the witch hunt aiming to get him by any means possible.

    • “I watched my nation permit and endorse the witch hunt aiming to get him by any means possible.”

      I agree entirely. He will be eventually be found to be as innocent as Cardinal Mindszenty (who had been treated as a criminal with such disgraceful mindless malicious hatred by the fascist-communist regime that wanted to “make an example of him for “defending the innocent who had no voice””

      It surely is NEVER justice:
      – to convict ANY person on the word of one man – with no corroborating evidence (especially when the second choirboy confided to his mother that he had “NEVER been abused”);
      – to ignore the testimony of at least 40 witnesses that Cardinal Pell was visible to them at all times in the crowd who were waiting to talk to him at the time the (ALLEGED) abuse was taking place;
      – to ignore the fact that it was IMPOSSIBLE to find an IMPARTIAL JURY in Victoria – made super-toxic by the ever-increasing “anti-Catholic bias (as it surely is among such horrors as Australian television talking-head Louise Milligan, author of a libelous book about George Pell and the equally slanderous never-ending “ditty” by Tim Minchin vilifying Cardinal Pell.
      – to ignore the fact that in this same toxic cultural atmosphere, that the incompetent Victorian Police department wanted to appear to “be doing something” and some in that department vindictive enough to be “fishing” for “litigation-happy” ‘victim/s’ two years previously in order to bring down the “biggest-scalp” for his many enemies – eg, the “rainbow-sash brigade” who at several Masses, who “greeted”/harassed Cardinal Pell at Communion with horrible loud expletives and vowed to take revenge for his frank denunciation of homosexuality. Their vengeance was palpable all over Australia;
      – to ignore the fact that the jury and 2 of the appellant judges failed to note that there had been a deliberate attempt to “disgrace” Cardinal Pell by his enemies – eg, for Pell’s “interference” / dismantling of a treacherous scheme by “certain criminal elements” who had infiltrated Vatican funds (and were already “siphoning-off” funds)intended for alleviation of poverty in 3rd world countries (the Catholic Church being the most prominent of any world-wide organisation for alleviating poverty).
      – to ignore the super-charged toxic culture and their “assumption, widespread in the Australian media, that any Catholic cleric charged with sexual abuse, if not overtly presumed guilty, should at least be treated as such” — a disgraceful perversion of the common law.

      I find myself agreeing – that on these above points alone – “if Australia cannot find it within itself to vindicate justice by acquitting George Pell, then 21st-century Australia will find itself condemned by history to that ignominy in which the biased and mad persecutors of Alfred Dreyfus in the nineteenth century—bigots and hysterics who are global symbols of justice scorned and trampled upon – now find themselves” – they too will also be assigned to the “dust-bin of history” to where they are plunging headlong.

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