Justice, finally.

It is imperative for the future of the Australian criminal justice system, and indeed for the future of Australian democracy, that a serious examination of conscience followed by a serious public reckoning take place.

Australian Cardinal George Pell is seen in a 2017 file photo being escorted by police to the Melbourne Magistrates Court. (CNS photo/Mark Dadswell, Reuters)

The unanimous decision by Australia’s High Court to quash a guilty verdict and enter a verdict of “acquitted” in the case of Pell vs. The Queen reverses both the incomprehensible trial conviction of Cardinal George Pell on a charge of “historic sexual abuse” and the equally baffling decision to uphold that false verdict by two of the three members of an appellate court in the State of Victoria last August. The High Court’s decision frees an innocent man from the unjust imprisonment to which he has been subjected, restores him to his family and friends, and enables him to resume his important work in and for the Catholic Church. The decision also begins the process of rebuilding international confidence in Australia’s criminal justice system, which has been badly damaged by the Pell case—although there is much more remedial work to be done on that front, especially in the State of Victoria, Ground Zero of the Pell witch hunt that raged for years and that culminated in this tawdry affair.

Close students of Pell vs. The Queen have known for some time that this case ought never have been brought to trial. The police investigation leading to allegations against the cardinal was conducted in a dubious, indeed sleazy, fashion. The magistrate at the committal hearing (the equivalent of a grand jury proceeding ) was under intense pressure to bring to trial a set of charges she knew were very weak. When the case was tried, the Crown prosecutors produced no evidence that the alleged crimes had ever been committed, basing their argument solely on the testimony of the complainant—testimony that was inconsistent over time and that has subsequently been shown to have been deeply flawed. There was no corroborating physical evidence and there were no witnesses to corroborate the charges. To the contrary: those directly involved in Melbourne’s cathedral at the time of the alleged offenses (some twenty years ago) insisted under oath and during cross-examination that it was impossible for events to have unfolded as the complainant alleged—neither the time-frame used by the prosecution to describe the alleged abuse nor the complainant’s description of the layout of the cathedral sacristy (where the crimes were said to have been committed) made any sense. This extensive testimony in the cardinal’s defense was never seriously dented by the prosecution. Moreover, the sheer impossibility that what was alleged to have happened actually happened was subsequently confirmed by objective observers and commentators, including those who held no previous brief for Cardinal Pell (and one who had been a severe critic).

Pell vs. The Queen was also prosecuted in a way that raised grave doubts about the commitment of the Victoria authorities to such elementary tenets of Anglosphere criminal law as the presumption of innocence and the duty of the state to prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In this regard, Justice Mark Weinberg, the dissenting judge in last summer’s appellate case, made a crucial jurisprudential point while eviscerating his colleagues’ decision to uphold Cardinal Pell’s conviction in August 2019: By making the complainant’s credibility the crux of the matter, both the prosecution and Weinberg’s colleagues on the appellate panel rendered it impossible for any defense to be mounted. Under this credibility criterion, no evidence of an actual crime was required, nor was any corroboration of the charges; what counted was that the complainant seemed sincere. But this was not serious judicial reasoning according to centuries of the common law tradition. It was an exercise in sentiment, even sentimentality, and it had no business being the decisive factor in convicting a man of a vile crime and depriving him of his reputation and his freedom.

(Had the High Court upheld a conviction on these grounds, there would have been the most serious doubt that any Catholic cleric, or indeed anyone, charged with sexual abuse by a “credible” complainant could receive a fair trial in Australia. For by this credibility criterion, any defendant is prima facie condemned as guilty.)

As Justice Weinberg’s extraordinary, 200+ page dissent was digested by jurists and veteran legal practitioners in Australia, and as the lifting of a press blackout on coverage of the Pell trial exposed the thinness of the prosecution case, a rising tide of concern among thoughtful people, convinced that a grave injustice had been done, could be felt—even at a distance of thousands of miles from Melbourne. That concern may have been reflected in the decision by the High Court, Australia’s supreme judicial body, to accept a further appeal (which need not have been granted). Similar concerns were evident in the sharp grilling of the Crown’s chief prosecutor when the High Court heard the cardinal’s appeal in March 2020. That two-day exercise made it plain, again, that the Crown had no case that would meet the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; that the jury in the cardinal’s second trial (held because of a hung jury at his first trial) returned an unsafe and indeed insupportable verdict; and that the two judges of the Victoria Supreme Court who upheld the conviction (one of whom had no criminal law experience whatsoever) made grave errors of the sort that their colleague, Justice Weinberg, identified in his dissent.

The High Court’s decision to acquit Cardinal Pell and free him is thus both just and welcome. The question of how any of this could have happened in the first place remains to be adjudicated, however. And it is imperative for the future of the Australian criminal justice system, and indeed for the future of Australian democracy, that a serious examination of conscience followed by a serious public reckoning take place.

As I have written before, the vicious public atmosphere surrounding Cardinal Pell, especially in his native State of Victoria, was analogous to the poisonous atmosphere that surrounded the Dreyfus Affair in late-nineteenth century France. In 1894, raw politics and  ancient score-settling, corrupt officials, a rabid media, and gross religious prejudice combined to cashier an innocent French army officer of Jewish heritage, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, for treason, after which he was condemned to the hell of Devil’s Island. The Melbourne Assessment Prison and Her Majesty’s Prison Barwon, the two facilities in which George Pell has been incarcerated, are not Devil’s Island, to be sure. But many of the same factors that led to the false conviction of Alfred Dreyfus were at play in the putrid public atmosphere of the State of Victoria during the past four years of the Pell witchhunt. The Victoria police, already under scrutiny for incompetence and corruption, conducted a fishing expedition that sought “evidence” for crimes that no one had previously alleged to have been committed; and by some accounts, the police saw the persecution of George Pell as a useful way to deflect attention from their own (to put it gently) problems. With a few honorable exceptions, the local and national press bayed for Cardinal Pell’s blood. Someone paid for the professionally printed anti-Pell placards carried by the mob that surrounded the courthouse where the trials were conducted. And the Australian Broadcasting Corporation—a taxpayer-funded public institution—engaged in the crudest anti-Catholic propaganda and broadcast a stream of defamations of Cardinal Pell’s character (most recently in a series coinciding with the deliberations of the High Court).

To imagine that an unbiased jury could have been empaneled in these fevered circumstances is to imagine a great deal—and perhaps to imagine the impossible. Yet the present law in the State of Victoria did not allow the cardinal to request a bench trial by a judge alone. So what might have been imagined to be a sober legal proceeding came to bear the hallmarks of a slow-motion political assassination by judicial means.

And it does not strain credulity to imagine that that was, all along, the intention of some of those involved in the persecution of George Pell.

Democratic politics is a contact sport, and nowhere more so than in Australia. The frenzied public madness surrounding George Pell did not bespeak a robust democracy sustained by a vital public moral culture, however; it bespoke something more primitive and far more dangerous. Thus the High Court struck a blow for democratic decency and democratic renewal, as well as for justice, by allowing Cardinal Pell’s appeal and entering a verdict of acquittal into the record. The High Court’s decision will not change the minds of the pathological Pell-haters, whose name is legion. And it is a safe bet that further attacks on the cardinal’s character will be forthcoming. Perhaps, though, the High Court decision will embolden the Australian parliament to take another step toward democratic renewal Down Under and look into the condition of the police and the criminal justice system in the State of Victoria—and to conduct an inquiry into why the country’s government-owned public broadcasting system is permitted to engage in defamation of character on the taxpayers’ dollar.

Throughout this ordeal, Cardinal George Pell has been a model of patience, and indeed a model of priestly character. Knowing that he is innocent, he was free even when incarcerated. And he put that time to good use—“an extended retreat,” as he called it—cheering his many friends throughout the world and intensifying an already-vigorous life of prayer, study, and writing. Now that he can, at last, celebrate the Mass again, I’ve no doubt that he will make, among his intentions, the conversion of his persecutors and the renewal of justice in the country he loves.

As a citizen of Vatican City, Cardinal Pell did not have abandon his work in Rome to return to Australia for trial. The thought of appealing to his diplomatic immunity never occurred to him, though. For he was determined to defend his honor and that of the Australian Church, which he had led in addressing the crimes and sins of sexual abuse (and in many other ways) for years. George Pell placed his bet on the essential fairness of his countrymen. The High Court’s decision has vindicated that wager, finally. The reception of the court’s decision will tell a lot about whether the Australian media and the Australian people have learned anything from all of this.


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About George Weigel 301 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 Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent book is The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), published by Ignatius Press.

152 Comments

  1. Thank you Mr Weigel. An excellent example of religiopolitical manipulation. Very hot off the press too, I might add. Obviously penned before this mornings ( Australian Time ) announcement. So I’m left to wonder did you have prior notice of the outcome? I’m thinking and hoping most probably not. More likely you wrote two articles to cover your options. I would love to read the article you prepared in the event of Cardinal Pell’s guilty verdict being upheld.

    How’s the democratic process going in the USA these days? From an Australian perspective not very well I gather, but who am I to comment with authority on the democratic health of your beloved nation. Likewise regarding your commentary on the state of play with the public opinion and the Legal proceedings regarding the trial of Cardinal Pell, you seem to omit perhaps the most significant realities of the subject you have written about. No mention of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the outcomes pertaining to Legal proceedings involving such abhorrent crimes. Why not? May I suggest this omission, one among many, does not suit your prejudiced narrative, a narrative that is devoid of authority on the subject. You have attempted to place yourself in a leadership position regarding a Catholic perspective on the trial and conviction of Cardinal Pell. Leadership in the Body of Christ demands truth and by virtue of the omissions evident in your article it can not be considered a balanced and truthful appraisal.

    • In other words, no matter the verdict, you know who the real culprit is here: George Weigel. Lots of anger and snide flailings here, but what comes through is that you hate the author. Truly sad.

      • Carl, I’m surprised by your comment. Have you attempted to reduce the content of my comment to merely an expression of hate towards Mr weigel? Bigly sad. The cut and thrust of my writing was to address the content of Mr Weigel’s article. Answer please the points I have made. They are the focus of my writing. Are you wanding to divert attention to supposed ad hominem? Surely you can see my argument is directed towards the position Mr Weigel is maintaining? I await a mature and honest reply.

        • Unfortunately (or otherwise) your comment can indeed be reduced to that : a hatred of the author.

          Sad that so many people like yourself are incapable of distinguishing between the pederasts (gay priests) who perpetuated the abuse and the case in question.

          In fact, it is the LGBT community who has it out for Pell. I wonder if the police investigation and everything related to the prosecution was not bankrolled by gay money.

        • Christopher Hallam, your post mentioned nothing of relevance to the only thing that matters. An innocent man was railroaded by a corrupt system of justice. Nothing you’ve written rebuts that fact in the slightest. Or do you claim to have first hand knowledge contradicting the irrefutable facts which establish Cardinal Pell’s innocence?

          If you wish to contend that the U.S. system of justice is susceptible to abuse and the potential persecution and prosecution of the innocent, that’s a perfectly fair and reasonable point, and one which can and should be addressed. But not here. It’s the Australian criminal justice system which has been shown to the world to be fully capable of an abhorrent miscarriage of justice.

          This fraudulent sham of a case nearly succeeded in keeping an innocent man in prison. It’s amazing that you don’t see that as the only issue of importance in the course of this discussion.

        • Carl, you have read my response here and thos further down the conversation i assume.
          I’m still waiting for you response.

          • I wrote: “In other words, no matter the verdict, you know who the real culprit is here: George Weigel. Lots of anger and snide flailings here, but what comes through is that you hate the author. Truly sad.”

            If you cannot see what is so obvious, well, I don’t have interest in responding or engaging. Nor do I have to.

      • It’s worse than that. Mr. Hallam hates Catholics and Americans as well. Probably and old school Labour Leftie.

        • Johann du Toit, Who are you to say I hate Catholics? Who are you to say I hate Americans?
          I have maintained consistently in various discussions that there are only two people alive that know the truth of the Cardinals guilt or innocence, that being the Cardinal himself and the young man who bought the charges against Cardinal Pell, and in the final rendering of justice it will be Our Lord who presides! The Charges are overturned and that is the legal finding. So be it. My comments relate the the narrative My Weagle has consistently maintained about the Australian cultural milieu and legal process and his consistent misrepresentation of the surrounding dynamics of the whole situation. It is increasingly apparent to me that many here lack the ability to think critically and objectively. Critical thinking is an essential discipline if one wishes to arrive at a truthful understanding of any situation. I fully concur with Cardinal Pell’s words ” The only basis for justice is truth” The motivation for my commentary regarding Mr Weigel’s article is the pursuit of truth, a truthful understanding. There is so much to this that Mr Weigel has deliberately omitted! America Has Boston! Australia has Ballaratt and Melbourne! The people of those towns are not anti Catholic, they are demanding accountability ! The church refuses to be accountable. Before any one jumps to the fact that this hav no bearing on Pells guilt or innocence I am fully aware of this fact. But this is the basis of the Media’s relentless pursuit of the truth of the abuse history and advocating on behalf of the many children who it looks like will never receive justice. Mr Weigel frames it all in the Paradigm of his own ideological bent not on the fulness of an intimate knowledge nor a compassionate acknowledgment of the other side of the greater reality being played out in my back yard….. a reality all who have commented here steadfastly refuse to even contemplate! So how dare you call me a hater! Do i hate you for having a different perspective? No I don’t, I don’t hate anyone here, Not Cardinal Pell, nor George waigel How dare you including Carl call me a hater!

          • Australia deserves the condemnation, above and beyond what anyone could level against the U.S. There was a virtual “gag order” imposed by the trial court that kept the Australian public in the dark about any specifics while the trial was underway. In the United States that would never have been permitted. As it was, the people of Australia, who had every right to know of the mockery of justice that was taking place in their own criminal justice system. It’s entirely feasible, that had there notable press coverage, the case never would have even been brought to trial.

            There is much to condemn in the U.S. as far as our political system and our system of justice. But we have public trials which the media is free to cover. Not so in Australia.

          • Only two people know the truth? No, the twenty five other people who were in the sacristy when this allegedly took place know the truth,too. To a man they avowed that there is no possibility that ;the accusations were true. And this boy is the only person in Pell’s career to accuse him. We do know the truth.

          • Chris C and Brian, I feel the need to point out obvious untruths in your above comments that show a lack of understanding of specific and verifiable aspects of the issues you have commented on.
            Firstly Brian, you claim to know the truth while stating categorically “this boy is the only person in Pell’s career to accuse him. ” If you had done the slightest amount of research on the subject you would know there are numerous accusations dating back to the 1970’s one series of accusations being the rationale for, according to Chris C was the “a virtual gag order imposed by the trial court that kept the Australian public in the dark about any specifics while the trial was underway.”

            Chris C, If you had done the slightest amount of independent research you would know the following truth of the matter:
            https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-47366083

            Police charged Pell with sex offences in June 2017, saying only that he faced “historical” allegations by “multiple complainants”. The cardinal immediately denied any wrongdoing.

            Those hearings revealed for the first time that Pell faced separate accusations from the 1990s and the 1970s. Consequently, a judge ordered that two trials – with separate juries – would take place.

            In a bid to prevent the first trial influencing the second, the judge agreed to an immediate suppression order.

            So as has happened frequently here, you are commenting from a fictional narrative, one that many take up and run with based on opinion rather than fact. You do seem to be determined to fabricate your own reality at odds with regard to many factual aspects surrounding the trial, conviction and acquittal of Cardinal George Pell. Why is it so?
            I

          • Brian, and anyone reading for that matter, you only had to go to Wikipedia to see that there are prior accusations. The one from 2002 that Cardinal Pell stood aside while it was investigated shows that history as in a manner of speaking repeated itself.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pell#2002_allegation

            2002 allegation
            In June 2002, a Melbourne man accused Pell of sexually abusing him at a Catholic youth camp in 1961, when the accuser was 12 years old and Pell was a young seminarian. Pell denied the accusations and stood aside while the inquiry continued.[171] The complainant agreed to pursue his allegations through the church’s own process for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct, the National Committee for Professional Standards. Retired Victorian Supreme Court Justice Alec Southwell, appointed commissioner by the church to investigate the matter, found that the complainant, despite his long criminal record, had mostly given the impression of “speaking honestly from actual recollection” but concluded as follows: “bearing in mind the forensic difficulties of the defence occasioned by the very long delay, some valid criticism of the complainant’s credibility, the lack of corroborative evidence and the sworn denial of the respondent, I find I am not ‘satisfied that the complaint has been established'”.[172][173] Pell said he had been exonerated, while the complainant’s solicitor said his client had been vindicated.[173]

        • Ok, thanks for responding Carl.
          Could your reply be interpreted as….. If you don’t see things my way, I don’t have interest in responding. Nor do I have to.?
          That seems to be what it amounts to, unless I’m mistaken. Irrespective, in its original form it’s to my mind quite a disappointing response and quite inadequate. I do think you set a bit of a tone though for the discussion that followed.

    • “No mention of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the outcomes pertaining to Legal proceedings involving such abhorrent crimes. Why not?”

      Because it has nothing at all to do with the crimes of which Cardinal Pell has just been exonerated.

      Have you read the High Court’s complete decision? You really ought to.

      • Leslie, no I have not read the High Court’s complete decision however, I have read a summary. At your suggestion I will read the complete decision.
        I think and hope we can have a meaningful discussion. Have you read the Final Report and Executive Summary of the Royal Commission? If not, please read: Criminal justice report recommendations (2017) from page 194
        https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/final_report_-_preface_and_executive_summary.pdf
        Recommendations relate directly to the Trial of Cardinal Pell. It’s omission from any attempt to understand and evaluate the court proceedings will lead to false assumptions about the trial process.
        Thank you.

        • I watched a bit of the ABC hatchet job and the priest they were interviewing admits to being homosexual.

          In the US the John Jay report found that around 75% of the abuses were homosexual in orientation. And yet I don’t hear anyone railing against homosexual priests or the fact that problem in the Church is not paedophilia but homosexuality.

          • This issue cannot be reduced to the issue of homosexuality in the church Peter. I notice Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone resigns after a year of scandal. On similar grounds It could be said that so should Cardinal Pell hand in his robes. The Royal Commision will be releasing the redacted sections of it’s final report pertaining to Cardinal Pell’s involvement, but we who know of that which has occured under his watch are of the opinion he has even lied to the royal commission. He has lied to our faces. He has been combative to the parents who’s Children the priests of Melbourne have Raped! He instigated the cruel and heartless legal maneuver, the Ellis response ( now overturned ) to protect the church against litigation. May I remind you of the Cardinal’s words “The only basis for justice is truth”.

          • Peter Santos, you said you watched a bit of the ABC hatchet job and the priest they were interviewing admits to being homosexual.
            That preist interviewed is infact an ex priest, Terry Laidlaw. He was the assistant Parish priest of Boronia Parish when i was attending that parish. Sounds like you have dismissed him outright. It never ceases to amaze me how you Americans who comment here with such assumed authority make such ludicrous statements to somehow validate your position. Such attempts carry no weight of authority. Mr Terry Laidlaw had the decency and honesty to leave the priesthood while others continued to live a lie. Your comment is a clear example of the ignorance and pre judgement that is evident by most who have commented in favour of Cardinal Pell. I will say you have powerful friends and allies who have trumpeted their narrative from the highest towers of social privilege. Good luck with that when truth is revealed.

        • I have read the report. It has nothing to do with whether Cardinal Pell committed the crimes of which he was exonerated.

          The recommendations they mdke include condemning clerical celibacy (in spite of the fact that their own report points out that abuse occurred in other religious groups that do not have clerical celibacy, and among non-religious groups). The recommendations also included getting rid of the seal of the confessional (in spite of the fact that Ridsdale, one of the abusers, has admitted that he never told anyone about what he did including in confession). It is an obvious attack on the Church. https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2017/07/royal-commission-media-church/

        • “Recommendations relate directly to the Trial of Cardinal Pell.”

          How?

          Look, if you want to go put Pell on trial for covering up or enabling sexual abuse of priests under his jurisdiction as bishop, be my guest, if you’ve got the evidence for it. But that is not what Pell was put on trial for here, and it is not the question that was before the High Court.

        • Christopher Hallam as to your response directed to me above re: ” If you had done the slightest amount of independent research you would know the following truth of the matter” the BBC article you linked to provides NOTHING of relevance. It doesn’t substantiate any other claims or charges against Cardinal Pell. All it does is provide the flimsy rationale of the prosecutors and police who wanted to keep a gag order in effect. It provides no factual basis whatsoever for reasonably assuming there were other abuse cases involving Cardinal Pell. If this is the best you can do, it’s pathetic.

          Again, please state why you presume this article in any way casts aspersions on Cardinal Pell. All it did was provide a flimsy basis to keep the public ill informed as to the facts. And the prosecutors did not pursue any of the earlier charges. This looks like a bogus attempt to provide a rationale to keep the public and the world in the dark about the facts of the Pell case. And you have bought into it hook,line and sinker.

      • This was a modern day witch hunt. Why don’t you ask the question-why was an innocent man sentenced on such flimsy evidence? Surely you should be more concerned about the state of the judiciary and the rule of law than castigating the truth clearly presented by George Weigel.

        • Regarding the concept of ” a modern day witch hunt”……….

          In the pursuit of a truthful understanding of the public perception of the Catholic Church in Victoria and the Media’s interest, I offer this for serious perusal, especially findings and witness statments pertaining to the Parish of Doveton;

          Case Study, Melbourne, Child Abuse Royal Commission:
          https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/case_study_35_-_findings_report_-_catholic_archdiocese_of_melbourne_catholic_archdiocese_of_melbourne.pdf

          • Christopher, I have told you again and again and again: That report has absolutely nothing to do with the charges of which Cardinal Pell has been exonerated.

            In addition, Gerard Flood, who if I recall correctly is Australian posted a comment on one of these articles that said “And no notice should be taken of the Report of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, without also reading the forensic criticisms of that prejudiced and politicised operation, notably by Gerard Henderson’s Mediawatchdog blog. That process was a further sign of the degradation of regulatory abuse in Australia.” I found one of the Henderson articles that was quite interesting: https://thesydneyinstitute.com.au/blog/issue-347/

            I read the report. I see no indication that the people who told their stories were under oath. In addition, the conclusions drawn by the commissioners are quite a stretch. I mentioned in another post that I noticed places where they seemed to badger a witness who did not recall something happening to get him to say, “Well, I suppose it could have happened,” and the next thing you know the conclusion is saying that it must have happened. I also wrote, “The recommendations they mdke include condemning clerical celibacy (in spite of the fact that their own report points out that abuse occurred in other religious groups that do not have clerical celibacy, and among non-religious groups). The recommendations also included getting rid of the seal of the confessional (in spite of the fact that Ridsdale, one of the abusers, has admitted that he never told anyone about what he did including in confession). It is an obvious attack on the Church.”

            I do no know why you are clinging to the Commission’s report as if it somehow excuses the gross miscarriage of justice that transpired until, mercifully, the High Court fixed it. And it may explain the “public perception” of the Catholic Church, but it’s because of what Mr. Weigel has pointed out all along: the media and governmental figures like the Victoria Police have used it to whip up hatred of the Church and of Cardinal Pell.

          • I’m at a loss as to why you think this report is of any relevance as to any material fact in the case of Cardinal Pell. Do you care to cite anything specific in the report that you claim is pertinent?

      • Carl, so anyone who engages in discussion from a perspective other than the predominant thought expressed here is playing games?
        Do you genuinely think I’m playing a game here?

        • Chris C you are at a loss to see any relevance? If you have read all my other comments where I have attempted to clarify and explain and still are at a loss, to see any relevance, especially with regard to the climate of public opinion being anything other than a witch-hunt, I can only assume that some form of cognitive dissonance is the source of your lack of understanding.

    • A Catholic perspective? The High Court vindicated Cardinal Pell over a crime he could not have committed. Just leave it there.

    • Instead of using this site as a forum for expressing your contempt for Weigel and Pell, your time might be better spent examining the bigotry and falsehood that is festering in your own heart first. Remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.

    • It is great news that Cardinal Pell has been set free. And while most welcome, his acquittal hardly removes the grave stain upon the legal system of Australia. There must be a full and complete reckoning by which all responsible for this grave injustice are brought to account. If not, it’s only a matter of time before another innocent person is railroaded. By the way, the forum for this inexcusable abuse of justice was Australia.

      But no doubt it could have happened anywhere, including in the United States. There is demonic atmosphere of, for lack of a better term, political correctness, which is perverting fairness and justice throughout most of today’s world.

    • The hatefulness and irrationality of your response merely proves Mr. Weigel’s point: namely that the entire Pell affair was driven by virulent anti-Catholicism.

        • @”Rubbish!”, declares one Christopher Hallam. After reading your comments throughout this thread it’s clear that you simply detest Cardinal Pell personally. Yet you’ve never specified exactly why.

          One gets the impression that regardless of his innocence you’d have been perfectly happy with him remaining in prison, convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Is it that he’s just one of those people who should be silenced and removed from society, the only problem being what shallow pretense to use to justify it? Sorry but I can’t account for your attitude otherwise.

    • Cardinal Pell was convicted of terrible crimes in a travesty of a trial. He is freed and vindicated as an innocent man. He cannot be tried for the failings of the Church in Australia to deal with child abuse that is not what he was tried for… be fair!

      • I agree Andree, to the extent that, with respect to the the matter that was brought before the High Court he is indeed freed and vindicated as an innocent man. However Mr Weigel In his articles has spoken of much more than merely the issue of guilt or innocence of Cardinal Pell, and so do I address the wider reality. Who will be held accountable for the failings of the Church in Australia to deal with child abuse? It is my hope and prayer that those responsible will be held accountable as they should.I have no desire for false accusations nor scapegoats. Let this be known!

    • Perhaps you should read the judgment of the High Court. And you might couple that with Cardinal Pell’s statement. Cardinal Pell was convicted on allegations that were not supportable in any analysis. His conviction was not for the failings of the Catholic Church in the Royal Commission (itself a political exercise and flawed in its distortion of the cases before it). No doubt the jury and the public see the wrongful conviction of Cardinal Pell as vindicated by the crimes of those priests who abused their vows and preyed on vulnerable people in an abuse of the trust which they held by virtue of the legacy of the many good priests in our history. The scandal of clerical abuse does not justify the bringing of false charges or the failure to apply the rule of law. The principles requiring that a case be proved on cogent evidence are there to protect you and every citizen – if Cardinal Pell could be convicted on the case brought against him, you, as a citizen should be very afraid.

    • “No mention of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the outcomes pertaining to Legal proceedings involving such abhorrent crimes. Why not?”

      I turn the burden of logic around: Why so?

      There’s a place for commentaries on the Royal Commission. It’s far from obvious, Christopher, that an op-ed about Cardinal Pell’s acquittal, is it.

    • Mr. Hallam –

      As months earlier, you remain a fundamentally unjust commenter.

      So says your Australian Supreme Court 7-0 to you about your injustice.

      • Chris and Larry, this is not about winning or losing and in I have made it abundantly clear in previous discussions in months earlier. People here seem to be determined to place me in a pigeonhole of their own fabrication. both comments directed towards me are disingenuous in the extreme.

      • By your reasoning Larry, was not Mr Weigel a “sore loser” regarding the outcome of the previous court cases?

        • ….for the purpose of clarification, Larry, I am not nor will I call Mr Weigel a sore loser. I’m simply pointing out to you the bias and folly of your throw away comment.

    • By unanimous decision Pell is exonerated and a free man.
      Seven individual opinions by the High Court. Very rare.
      The Crown’s very weak case was a farce. Justice prevailed, finally.
      Great display of anti-Catholic bigotry though. Nice one.

    • You make a lot of snide insinuations here, and then attempt to attack both Weigel and the USA. This is sickening, and your comment only proves that something is deeply sick down in Australia. Weigel could have easily written this last night. No big deal. Your pettiness and lack of charity are telling. I used to like Australia. Now, because of you, I wonder if it can be saved at all.

    • Democracy is alive and well in the USA, thank you. Thats why Mr. Trump, a person the left loves to loath, is our President. We like him. And, our system works quite well. Much better than say in Britain, where there is no defined line of succession in the event something untimely happens to their PM.The Queen is a love, but you know, just a figurehead. There is no place that values Democracy which would allow a person to be convicted and jailed with no PROOF. Beside leaving the Aussies to look like thugs, this was a miscarriage of the concept of innocent until proven guilty. And, an accusation, no matter how deliciously salacious some may find it , is simply NOT PROOF!! This applies to the Cardinal as surely as it applies to denizens of the “Me too” movement. An accusation, no matter the sincerity of the accuser, is nothing but talk in the absence of proof.

    • You’re wasting your time here, Mr Hallam. Instead you might ask everyone who has a grievance with your posts whether they read or consume mainstream media. I noticed one of your aggressors used the term ‘witch hunt’ which was the headline for a SkyNews or The Australian paper headline recently (sorry I don’t recall which), while the rest of them are all taking the usual sort of shots that ignorant people of faith do whenever they encounter someone or something that they believe threatens their faith. All of their arguments are exceedingly bias and none are able to see that fact. Additionally, the irony of their words seems to completely escape many of them. Any reading this sentence won’t be able to understand what I’m referring to because they’re so thoroughly grounded in Catholicism and can’t be objective.

      Regarding George Weigel and his piece: while reading it I thought he was a one-sided fool. The only other option is that he’s doing his utmost to gain funding from a rich institution and hey, you can’t go wrong with the Catholic Church considering amount of money they don’t spend on tax.

      As to my own opinion:
      If the Victorian police didn’t think there was a case they wouldn’t have taken it to court. Similarly would the police not proceed with the case if the accuser wasn’t of good enough standing in the community.
      If Pell wasn’t actively abusing children himself he was allowing others to do it and not punishing them or turning them over to police. Unfortunately the Catholic Church thinks that God’s laws outweigh Man’s laws. I’m also not convinced the church isn’t just run by charlatans who don’t care whether God exists and just use it to control the minds of the masses; clearly it’s working. When Pell was on the verge of being investigated he told the investigator he’d handle the accusations, whereby he set up a ‘pay out and silence them’ scheme and not actually a ‘Let’s ensure this never happens again’ scheme. Basically, when all is said and done, how Pell responded to the accusations reveals his culpability. Yes, the Church itself has a bad track record of child abuse (I think of it more as abuse of power), and so anyone who works for it is potentially compromised in ethics because they gain income from the institution and to continue to keep their family cared for they need to keep their jobs. It’s why coal miners don’t vote against the Liberals even when they know what the burning of coal does to our atmosphere.
      Anyone who tries to defend Pell – even knowing that he’s covered up child sex offences with his pay off schemes – is an enabler of sexual abuse. That means anyone here who defends him is defending a person who has allowed others to molest children. Think of it in terms such as this: if a priest raped one of your own children and then told the child it was God’s will and that the child would be punished by God if they told anyone, who is to say anything happened to the child a month later?
      The LNP (of which the majority if you are no doubt supporters), gain a great amount of funding from the Catholic Church and the majority of other religious institutions simply because their views and values are aligned. Both know that to control the masses you either need a God or fabricated truth. Both seem to have that in spades which is why they support each other. That’s why anything the LNP come out with is going to side with Pell and deride anyone else. You’re all trained to think aggressively and to hate your political opponents even though we’re all children under God and, as such, equal.

      I would like to add that priests don’t need to have a Working With Children Check be it volunteer or paid. That seems like a very big misstep in our society, doesn’t it? Say a person is released from prison and they gain a job as a pastor from a church or religious institute. All good, right? However, what about if their crime was rape? Would you employ them at your shop? Would you trust them to work alongside your wife? Would you be ok letting them drive your daughter home? No. Yet in church a rapist is simply a child of God. As such, they have the liberty to offend whenever the opportunity is open to them. The same holds true of priests who are child abusers. Without a WWCC, no one around knows they need to keep an eye out.

      Lastly, I expect a torrent of abuse from the ignorant here so I’ll leave you all with this:
      If, after all I’ve said, you still support Pell then please know that you also support the rape and abuse of children and that makes you abhorrent people.
      If you think to rebut or rebuke me in some way I’ll get ahead of you and tell you that whatever you say, it will all be semantics IMO because all your diatribe equates to is you being an enabler of child rape and sexual abuse.
      Have a lovely Easter.

      • “You’re wasting your time here, Mr Hallam. “

        I have to congratulate Mr. Hallam; in you he has found someone whose posts make his look like shining examples of reason and fairness in comparison.

        “Instead you might ask everyone who has a grievance with your posts whether they read or consume mainstream media.”

        If you mean Australian media, perhaps the ones from Australia do. I’m not from Australia. I read several different Australian sources (the ones not behind paywalls) when I looked up stories related to this, including a few that were recommended by someone posting in the comments section here.

        “I noticed one of your aggressors used the term ‘witch hunt’ which was the headline for a SkyNews or The Australian paper headline recently (sorry I don’t recall which),”

        I’m sure SkyNews and The Australian also used words like “the” and “a” and “and.” It doesn’t follow that the reason we use them is because we saw them on SkyNews or The Australian; it is because they are common words. “Witch hunt” is a common phrase, and it is the one that is appropriate to this situation. Like “travesty,” and “bigotry,” and “injustice.”

        “while the rest of them are all taking the usual sort of shots that ignorant people of faith do whenever they encounter someone or something that they believe threatens their faith. All of their arguments are exceedingly bias and none are able to see that fact. Additionally, the irony of their words seems to completely escape many of them. Any reading this sentence won’t be able to understand what I’m referring to because they’re so thoroughly grounded in Catholicism and can’t be objective.”

        Unlike you, who are shining example of objectivity? Hardly. Your bigotry is about as blatant as it gets. Among those articles I read were some by people who aren’t Catholic and weren’t religious, but have the integrity to recognize and condemn the injustice that was the prosecution – and persecution – of Cardinal Pell.

        “Regarding George Weigel and his piece: while reading it I thought he was a one-sided fool. The only other option is that he’s doing his utmost to gain funding from a rich institution and hey, you can’t go wrong with the Catholic Church considering amount of money they don’t spend on tax.”

        More objectivity. Impressive! The Church doesn’t pay taxes just as no other church pays taxes, and, if the law on that in Australia is similar to the one in the US, neither do nonprofit organizations. Neither does the ABC, which, disgracefully, is taxpayer-funded and yet appears to be extremely biased.

      • Part 2, because it wouldn’t let me post it all at once.

        “As to my own opinion:
If the Victorian police didn’t think there was a case they wouldn’t have taken it to court.”

        Generally speaking, it isn’t the police who are supposed to take something to court, it is the prosecutors. I understand that the prosecutors in Victoria refused to take it to court, and the Victoria police overrode them, in the intervals between having a defense attorney inform on her own clients, and while rejoicing over the thought that the Pell trial would distract from that scandal.

        “Similarly would the police not proceed with the case if the accuser wasn’t of good enough standing in the community.”

        Unless the accuser made a handy tool to attack someone. But then, we don’t know anything about the accuser’s “good standing” because his identity is being carefully concealed. (As it happens, I’m fairly sure I know his name: Titus Oates).

        
“If Pell wasn’t actively abusing children himself he was allowing others to do it and not punishing them or turning them over to police.”

        Provide evidence of that (“That’s what I think” isn’t evidence). I’m sure the Victoria police would be thrilled to pieces to investigate, if you have any evidence. They may even get around to advertising, asking for accusers to come forward; that’ll be your big chance. A word of advice: Work on your story beforehand so you don’t have to change it several times afterwards.

        “Unfortunately the Catholic Church thinks that God’s laws outweigh Man’s laws. I’m also not convinced the church isn’t just run by charlatans who don’t care whether God exists and just use it to control the minds of the masses; clearly it’s working.”

        God’s law is far more important than man’s. (Ooooooooooh, be careful, the social justice warriors will get you for daring to be so very sexist!). For example, man’s law allows babies to be butchered in the womb. God’s law does not.

        “When Pell was on the verge of being investigated he told the investigator he’d handle the accusations, whereby he set up a ‘pay out and silence them’ scheme and not actually a ‘Let’s ensure this never happens again’ scheme.”

        Provide a link to that quote, please. An actual quote, not a paraphrase that undoubtedly misrepresents what the Cardinal said.

        “Basically, when all is said and done, how Pell responded to the accusations reveals his culpability.”

        By setting up a program to deal with the abuse and get help for victims? By getting rid of Fr. Peter Searson and others?

        “Yes, the Church itself has a bad track record of child abuse (I think of it more as abuse of power), and so anyone who works for it is potentially compromised in ethics because they gain income from the institution and to continue to keep their family cared for they need to keep their jobs. It’s why coal miners don’t vote against the Liberals even when they know what the burning of coal does to our atmosphere.”

        It is a sin and a disgrace that even one Catholic priest – or even Catholic – has committed any child abuse. That said, you are ignoring the fact that the Church’s track record on this is not worse than the record of any other institution, religious or civil, or of the population in general; in fact it marginally less bad numerically (though a priest who commits such an offense commits an act that is far more evil than the same act committed by someone else).

        “Anyone who tries to defend Pell – even knowing that he’s covered up child sex offences with his pay off schemes – is an enabler of sexual abuse. That means anyone here who defends him is defending a person who has allowed others to molest children. ”

        You are assuming facts not in evidence. We do *not* know that he’s covered up child sex offenses. You have provided no evidence, much less proof, that he has, and we have no reason to believe it. We are defending a man who was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit.

        “ Think of it in terms such as this: if a priest raped one of your own children and then told the child it was God’s will and that the child would be punished by God if they told anyone, who is to say anything happened to the child a month later?”

        Than sentence does not make any sense; I have no idea what you’re trying to convey. What would be likely to happen to the child a month later?

        
“The LNP (of which the majority if you are no doubt supporters)”

        What is the LNP? I’m not familiar with that acronym, and what comes up when I search is the Liberal National Party, whatever that is, so I don’t see how that fits in here.

        “, gain a great amount of funding from the Catholic Church and the majority of other religious institutions simply because their views and values are aligned.”

        So, Catholics and members of other religions shouldn’t give money to people with whom their view and values are aligned? Seriously? I’ll bet you’re perfectly happy with any organization that receives money because its views and values align with yours, which I gather are far-left.

        “Both know that to control the masses you either need a God or fabricated truth. Both seem to have that in spades which is why they support each other. That’s why anything the LNP come out with is going to side with Pell and deride anyone else. “

        I’m hampered by not knowing what you mean by LNP, but I’ve seen articles supporting Cardinal Pell from people who seem to be from a variety of political and religious affiliations. What they have in common is that they understand the concept of “presumption of innocence” and they believe that when someone is on trial for a particular offense, logically, it is at the evidence regarding that offense that is relevant.

        “You’re all trained to think aggressively and to hate your political opponents even though we’re all children under God and, as such, equal.”

        I assume by “you” you mean conservatives. And you think *we’re* the ones who are aggressive and hateful? Do please tell us more about the planet from which you come; it must be a fascinating place.

        “I would like to add that priests don’t need to have a Working With Children Check be it volunteer or paid. That seems like a very big misstep in our society, doesn’t it?”

        No, it doesn’t.

        “Say a person is released from prison and they gain a job as a pastor from a church or religious institute. All good, right? However, what about if their crime was rape? Would you employ them at your shop? Would you trust them to work alongside your wife? Would you be ok letting them drive your daughter home? No. Yet in church a rapist is simply a child of God. As such, they have the liberty to offend whenever the opportunity is open to them. The same holds true of priests who are child abusers. Without a WWCC, no one around knows they need to keep an eye out.”

        One can’t simply “gain a job as” a priest. It requires years of seminary training, and ordination. I will grant you that the seminaries need to make sure that they screen out applicants who are not appropriate (such as, for example, those who are tempted to homosexual actions), which sadly they seem to have failed to do very well leading to the peak of abuse in the 1970’s. The interview and screening process and the years of training act as a background check. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help if the priest subsequently commits abuse or any other crime; but then, neither would a government background check.

        “Lastly, I expect a torrent of abuse from the ignorant here so I’ll leave you all with this:
If, after all I’ve said, you still support Pell then please know that you also support the rape and abuse of children and that makes you abhorrent people.”

        Just as, if I support Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton then I support the murder of babies?

        I am astonished that you fail to see your own hypocrisy. You are the one who has been pouring out a torrent of abuse and ignorance, while probably smugly preening yourself over your own virtue.

        “If you think to rebut or rebuke me in some way I’ll get ahead of you and tell you that whatever you say, it will all be semantics IMO because all your diatribe equates to is you being an enabler of child rape and sexual abuse.”

        We already know that you are prejudiced and bigoted, so your opinion won’t surprise us at all.

        “Have a lovely Easter.”

        It was lovely, thank you. I was able to rejoice not only over the Resurrection of the Savior, but also the vindication of a man who had been wrongly convicted.

        • Leslie, a considered and comprehensive riposte to Christopher Hallam’s rather pompous prognostications. I am Australian and have followed this case from its beginnings going back beyond the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry. Unlike CM I have either watched or listened to the several public interrogations that Cardinal Pell has willingly allowed. I have also read the court judgements. I am very aware of the witch-hunt mounted by some media and some commentators. There was no chance of a fair trial by jury in Victoria. The poisonous attacks on the Cardinal had gone on incessantly and the public prejudices had become ingrained.

          Victoria has a long history antagonism between some protestant denominations and the Catholic church. In part this was related that the Catholic Church in Victoria was Irish in its origins. This split also became ingrained in the Victorian police force.

          CM does not appear to have a deep understanding of the religious culture in Victoria.

          I thought the article validly described the atmosphere surrounding this saga. CM’s harping criticism does not.

          • At this point I wonder whether it’s antagonism between protestant denominations and the Church or simply secular (and modernist “Catholic”) antagonism against religion.

          • Peter Sommervillw, allow me the opportunity to address your comments regarding myself.
            Pertaining to your assertion that “CM does not appear to have a deep understanding of the religious culture in Victoria.” (In the context of your writing I can only assume that CM referres to me, pehaps you ment to type CH?)
            Some family history:
            Margaret RYAN arrived as one of the Irish famine girls on the “Pemberton” at Melbourne, Port Phillip in May 1849, and in June 1849. David Munro MURRAY sheep overseer at “Muntham” Station, S-W Victoria married Margaret RYAN at “Muntham” station in 1851 or 1852 Their first daughter,Mary Murray was the first European child born on the Henty property out of Portland. So Irish Catholic girl marries Presbyterian man.
            Mary Murray married Whilliam Hallam, a Presbyterian marriage. Their son Whilliam Frank Hallam, my grandfather married Margaret A’hearn, an Irish Catholic girl and as a result was effectively shunned by his family, lost his inheritance. Myself, a Catholic work at a Presbyterian private school. In the 1980’s I was employed on behalf of the Catholic Church within an accountability structure of a committee of representatives from the major churches in Melbourne’s CBD to walk the streets of Melbourne and engage in the street life of the vulnerable youth of the city, one major task being to prevent the manipulation of cults from stealing these young persons freedom, another major task was to facilitate a healing journey for these young lives. There is a wealth of further info i could post regarding this question, suffice to say your assertion is merely a red herring. I know the street’s of the city of Melbourne, I know many of their secrets, I know something of the Catholic Church of Melbourne and many of her secrets. To have intimate knowledge is to have experiential knowledge. I have had cult members attempt to kidnap me from the city street, the corner of Bourk and Elizabeth. I do not have intimate knowledge of the matters of abuse but i have walked with and talked with those who do. Can I say that among the thousands of Catholics in Melbourne, relatively few would have anything near a comprehensive understanding of the scope of instances of abuse in the Parishes of Melbourne. Hardly anyone has an intimate knowledge of the goings on in the streets of the CBD in the 80’s I count it a great privilege and responsibility that I do and may I add that once one is commissioned in such a role as I was commissioned at St Pauls Cathedral, A catholic in the anglican Cathedral, even though the paid employment finishes, the ongoing work is continued.
            So what have you to say about your misrepresentation of my understanding of the religious culture in Victoria? Where have you been?

          • “In the 1980’s I was employed on behalf of the Catholic Church within an accountability structure of a committee of representatives from the major churches in Melbourne’s CBD to walk the streets of Melbourne and engage in the street life of the vulnerable youth of the city, ”

            And when one of those vulnerable youth accuses you of abusing him in the 1980’s, you, too, will deserve the presumption of innocence.

  2. Thank you Mr. Weigel for harnessing your tenacity and your antipathy to bring clarity to this matter from first to last. It has been a case that cries out to Heaven, and your assembling of the details as they unfolded has given you, and in turn us, a righteous voice to implore Our Lord to bring justice.

    • [Quote] Leslie ;
      And when one of those vulnerable youth accuses you of abusing him in the 1980’s, you, too, will deserve the presumption of innocence. [End Quote]
      And Leslie, your point is……..?

      • My point is that your accuser should not be called a victim unless and until a court of law has decided that you are guilty because the accusation was proved to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.

        • Leslie, I’m finding it difficult to follow your logic. However I will respond. Firstly, I agree correct terminology would be alleged victim as in your comment [APRIL 15, 2020 AT 8:15 AM] you should have stated ‘your hypothetical accuser’. Let me be very clear and correct your lack of attention to detail, I have no accusers.

          The fact that you make such a statement as [ Leslie : APRIL 14, 2020 AT 6:44 PM] is evidence only of your repeated attempts to narrow the frame of debate. Why do you ignore the detailed and relevant substance of my reply to Peter’s comments? This would be a fruit-full and genuine form of online debate.

          • “Leslie, I’m finding it difficult to follow your logic.”

            Unsurprising You seem to find it difficult to follow any logic.

            “However I will respond. Firstly, I agree correct terminology would be alleged victim”

            I think “accuser” would be a better term.

            “ as in your comment [APRIL 15, 2020 AT 8:15 AM] you should have stated ‘your hypothetical accuser’. Let me be very clear and correct your lack of attention to detail, “

            There was no lack of attention to detail. “And when one of those vulnerable youth accuses you of abusing him in the 1980’s, you, too, will deserve the presumption of innocence” is what I wrote at the beginning of this discussion; it refers to the future. Since I have not claimed to have the gift of precognition, it is obvious that I am not discussing an actual accuser.

            “ I have no accusers.”

            Yet. But if the Victoria police were to advertise for accusers for a year or two, they’d very likely find someone willing to accuse you, whether through malice or delusion, and the media would gleefully demonize you, and the people who form the jury pool would presume that you were guilty unless you could prove yourself innocent. On the other hand, you’re probably safe, because you’ve shown yourself quite willing to go along with their agenda regarding Cardinal Pell, so the police and media wouldn’t see you as any kind of threat and wouldn’t try to frame you. Just be very careful not to speak out against their shameful actions against the Cardinal or against abortion, homosexual marriage, divorce and remarriage, etc., or they might turn on you.

            “The fact that you make such a statement as [ Leslie : APRIL 14, 2020 AT 6:44 PM] is evidence only of your repeated attempts to narrow the frame of debate.”

            It’s called focusing. I’m still waiting for you to admit that the trawling for accusers by the Victoria Police, the media attacks on the Cardinal, and the presumption of guilt displayed by the jurors and two of the appellate judges were shameful. All I see, however, is your constantly deflecting and making vague accusations about the guilt of the Church. If you know specifically of a priest or priests who committed abuse, and have proof to back it up, produce it. If you know specifically of a person who covered up abuse and have actual facts to support an accusation, produce them.

            “Why do you ignore the detailed and relevant substance of my reply to Peter’s comments?”

            Because it was full of extraneous information about your genealogy, rambling, and lacking specificity. You wrote “I do not have intimate knowledge of the matters of abuse but i have walked with and talked with those who do.” So, what you have is hearsay. By the way, did you immediately report those allegations of abuse to the authorities?

            “This would be a fruit-full and genuine form of online debate.”

            You do seem to have a habit of pettishly demanding that people reply to you, and in the way that you want them to reply. Now you’re claiming to be the arbiter of what constitutes fruitful and genuine debate.

            Meanwhile, I haven’t noticed that you’ve said that you read the unanimous decision of the High Court or that you’ve grasped the concept of presumption of innocence.

  3. Thanks be to God. I never believed that z Pell was guilty for a moment. He should sue the Crown Prosecution Service of the State of Victoria for malicious prosecution.

      • This has absolutely nothing to do with the Pell case and the crime he was charged with. He wasn’t charged with covering up abuse, but committing abuse which your own country’s highest court has now unanimously exonerated him for.

        Mr. Hallam, it is clear that you have a pathological hatred of the Catholic Church and Cardinal Pell, and had a strong emotional investment in Pell staying in prison, regardless of whether he was in fact guilty of the crime he was charged with (and it is pretty clear now that, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was not guilty of the aforesaid crime).

        The fact that the Australian High Court has ruled against your pre-conceived idea of how the case should have gone seems to have sent you over the deep end and into a complete psychological meltdown, given that you have made probably hundreds of posts and replies on this topic on this thread alone, while completely ignoring that an innocent man was freed from a gross miscarriage (nay, abortion) of justice. Maybe you should go to your safe space and play with some plush, politically correct toys until you have calmed down.

        Thank you, and goodbye.

        • “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

          …….what does the LORD require of you ?
          For the children of Edenhope, Ballarat, Oakleigh, Doveton, within the city of greater Melbourne
          To those children from the 1950’s until today, they are still with us, they are among us.

          All these children 

          All these children 
          came into the world
          Feed them Love
          They grow to be strong
          Full of hope 
          Full of joy
           Full of song
          Feed them love
          For the road is long.

          As sure as night follows day
          And summers sun
           Turns into clouds of grey
          Feed them love
          And they will find their way
          Feed them love
          And they will find their way.

          All these children 
          come into the world
          Feed them Love
          They grow to be strong
          Full of hope 
          Full of joy
           Full of song
          Feed them love
          For the road is long.

          Feed them love
          And they will find their way
          Feed them hope
          And they will be ok.
          Let them run
           Let them climb
          Break their fall
          Time after time
           Feed them love
          And they will find their way.
          Feed them hope
           They will be ok

          You fathers, mothers, sisters priests and brothers, who among you, if a child asked you for nourishment and healing, would hand then a serpent instead?

          • Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

            Proverbs 19:9 A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies, shall perish

            Jeremiah 20:11 But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

            Psalms 108: 2O God, be not thou silent in my praise: for the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful man is opened against me. 3 They have spoken against me with deceitful tongues; and they have compassed me about with words of hatred; and have fought against me without cause.

            Psalms 108:29 Let them that detract me be clothed with shame: and let them be covered with their confusion as with a double cloak.

            Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: 12 Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

  4. Deo gratias.

    Now Australia must begin the investigations as to how this appalling injustice to an innocent man occurred.

    • Yes. I still wonder whether the accuser was deliberately lying or was confused. But I have no doubts at all about the general bigotry – not just against the Church, but against Christians in general. On another article I posted some statements about why Lindy Chamberlain was convicted, and they ring true for this case, too:

      But what has to be faced is that neither forensic science nor the law failed in the Chamberlain case as systems. Rather the practitioners are to blame for failing to abide by the principles of their vocations. Scientific guesses replaced experimental tests, tests lacked adequate controls, the onus of proof was reversed, the presumption of innocence was forgotten . . .

      “The answer is complex, and includes the general disbelief in the dingo story, the Chamberlains’ membership in a sect that is branded a cult by mainline Christians, the discomfort of secular Australians with such overt Christian piety as the Chamberlains displayed, the purposefully prejudicial reporting of the media, the perception of Lindy and Michael as cold and sinister, and the timorous response to such forces by political, religious and judicial leaders.

      “…Ultimately, the cause of the injustice inflicted upon the Chamberlains comes down, as author John Bryson observed, to one word—bigotry. The failures in the legal system, the multitudinous forensic errors, the police’s blind determination to obtain a conviction, the public’s hostility, and the media’s irresponsible reporting all resulted from a prejudicial disbelief in the dingo story and a ready acceptance of the Chamberlains’ guilt.”
      https://lindychamberlain.com/files/why-australia-why-innocence-regained.pdf

    • It is important to note that in the five minute bulletins of news of the BBC, they chose as the exclusive comment on this verdict a lady who bemoaned the sadness that this would cause for survivors. Not a word about the injustice that was done during his trial and imprisonment. It just shows how blinded by hate some people are and how the BBC, as usual, is only too happy to give them a platform to spew forth their bile.

      • The manipulation of language has allowed grave abuses of the legal process that would, in previous times, have resulted in a call for a mistrial. The use of the word ‘victim’ or ‘survivors’ for those bringing sexual assault allegations (whether established or not); the excusing of evidential inconsistencies on the grounds of ‘trauma’; the presentation of ‘victims’ and ‘survivors’ in the media who have no relation at all to a particular case, as though their experiences are connected to the particular case. In the Pell case, a main stream media television program, upon reporting the fact that Pell had been charged, featured a woman who had been abandoned by her family, taken care of by nuns (evil, of course, who beat her with Rosary beads), and who was then sexually abused by her foster father. There was no connection with Pell, but the media brought it into the overarching evil of The Catholic Church. There is a censoring of any idea that an accuser would lie. As a criminal lawyer myself, I personally, have acted in four cases where sexual assault charges have been falsely brought. Three of the false allegations were for money, one was for revenge.
        The biggest abuse is the exploitation by the media, the political groups and the compensation lawyers (a million dollar industry) of these vulnerable people.

        • I have listened to the BBC since the 1970’s. I am sorry to say that during that whole period I have found it sneaky and manipulative. I was amazed at what they got away with. One of their targets was always the Catholic Church but it was part of a very systematic agenda that a daily listener could recognize. The British people have certainly been cheated out of their tax money.

      • Yes, this idea that the decision was going to make real victims of abuse sad was a main talking point. But why? Apparently some Australians felt that in order to make real victims happy, they must convict innocent men. This makes no sense, and in fact I doubt that real victims would be happy to see innocent men go to jail. It makes no sense, and the fact that this was brought up so much shows the media really brainwashed people down there.

      • Can you clarify your statement?
        Are you referring to the money earnt by, as Jude put it; “the exploitation by the media, the political groups and the compensation lawyers (a million dollar industry) of these vulnerable people.”

        or are you referring to the vast amount of money Cardinal Pell and his supporters had to fund his substantial legal costs estimated to be in the million dollar range, one estimate being around $5 million?

  5. Cardinal Pell’s miscarriage of justice is not an isolated case. Lindy Chamberlain spent much longer in jail but when exonerated, was financially compensated, but the cardinal is not after money or revenge.
    There have been hundreds of miscarriages of justice in Australia over the years, but it makes me happy that a terrible wrong has been righted today.

  6. If you want to understand how deep the political establishment hostility permeates against Cardinal Pell in the State of Victoria one need only read the statement of Victoria’s Premier:-

    Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews issued a brief statement on Tuesday.
    “I make no comment about today’s High Court decision,” Mr Andrews said.
    “But I have a message for every single victim and survivor of child sex abuse: I see you. I hear you. I believe you.”

    Pure Wickedness.

    • The more so since saying “I believe you” to everyone who claims to be a victom of child sex abuse (or any other crime) means that what you are saying is “If someone is accused of a crime, he is guilty.”

      • Just to clarify: I do know how to spell “victim,” but it seems that my fingers and my keyboard are conniving against me.

    • Robert S,
      Perhaps it was wicked if he had wicked intentions. I’d say it was more an unwise & inappropriately timed statement-if not prejudicial. He did say “victims”, not alleged victims.
      We should believe real victims, proven in a court of law.
      I’m just glad Cardinal Pell has received this good news & I wish him the very best.

      • So, by your viewpoint mrscracker, the only “real victims”, the only ones who can be believed are those whose claims are proven in a court of law? Goodbye and shut up to the rest who have no witness apart from the Priest who abused them?……………. And we all know that in the majority of examples of Clerical abuse there are no witnesses apart from the rapist and the raped!

        • Calling someone a victim because he makes an accusation means a presumption of guilt. That isn’t how the law is supposed to work.

      • Chris in Maryland and samton909, why do you condemn Daniel Andrews as a wicked man, and evil while you rally in support of what you regard as the false accusations against Cardinal Pell ? Please read my response to Robert below and entertain the possibility that you may be very wrong in your judgement of Premier Daniel Andrews. I have no need to quote bible verses to illustrate the lack of wisdom you have displayed as it is more than obvious to whoever would read this dialogue with an open, fair and unbiased mind.

        • Mr. Hallam –

          It ought to be obvious to you, as it is to us, that you wanted Pell convicted of committing sex abuse, because you are angry that other clergy guilty of sex abuse got away with it.

          It is painfully obvious that this is EXACTLY what was being done in Australia.

          Readers here know that many of us, myself included, have denounced the sociopath Theodore McCarrick, and his establishment network, for his crimes, and his longtime evasion.

          Having followed this story, I have absolutely no doubt that Cardinal Pell was innocent of the charge of sex abuse.

          At the same time, and I note very much in connection with your general refrains on this broader topic, I do not believe that Cardinal Pell was, as George Weigel has asserted, a reformer in the confrontation of sex abuse cases. My judgment from the several accounts I have read and video news reports I have watched is that Cardinal Pell was doing “damage control management,” rather than seeking justice for the sake of those who were real victims.

          But what you and the Victoria gestapo wanted, a wrongful conviction on a trumped up charge under a gag order and an absolutely tyrannical and abusive “special rule for Pell only” as “guilty unless proven innocent” is appalling injustice.

          And one injustice does not solve the other injustices that have occurred.

          Truth is truth.

          You were wrong to take the path you pursued.

          I hope for a day when their is real justice and an end of secrecy in the Church about abuse. That day has not come.

          But what you wanted is not justice.

          Your own comments often fall back onto your anger about the perceived injustices in how these cases were

          • Chris in Maryland, wrote:
            “Mr. Hallam –
            It ought to be obvious to you, as it is to us, that you wanted Pell convicted of committing sex abuse, because you are angry that other clergy guilty of sex abuse got away with it.”

            Chris in Maryland, the above is a pathetic line of reasoning and a misrepresentation of my motives in order to suit your own purposes, and is not an example of honest debate. I find it offensive, unjustifiable and dishonest.

            For your information:
            Fallacies are statements that might sound reasonable or superficially true but are actually flawed or dishonest. When readers detect them, these logical fallacies backfire by making the audience think the writer is (a) unintelligent or (b) deceptive. It is important to avoid them in your own arguments, and it is also important to be able to spot them in others’ arguments so a false line of reasoning won’t fool you.

          • In closing Me. Hallam –

            You have chosen the path of a tyrant, and as long as you are on that pat, you are incapable of discussing truth and justice with reasonable men and women.

            You are at war with truth and justice.

            Now go take your breezy sail boat and sail away, until the day when you are willing to act like a reasonable person.

          • Hang on there Chris, a question if I may.
            In the various positions in the years before he was a Cardinal, what actions, behaviours and outcomes could be involved with Cardinal Pell doing “damage control management” ?
            This is exactly the Question that needs to be explored in detail by the Church any other relevant institution!
            With regards to Mr Weigel’s many articles on this subject It is incumbent upon him to give some weight to this matter, yet not a mention, not even a sideways glance, and this fact reveals the dishonesty of his position!

          • Hi Chris can I warn you not to assume that ‘Cardinal Pell was doing “damage control management” much of the Media on this which is out there is the reason Cardinal Pell found himself in Court and why many people(including some commenting here) want to see him stay in gaol for offences he clearly did not commit. The Royal Commission in Australia was quite aggressive in pursuing Cd. Pell. Interestingly they put on a third hearing for him(more than any other witness) to get him to return to Australia. As I understand it this was so the Victorian Police could arrest him on the steps of the Commission for these ‘crimes’. In any case, the only things they could find to interrogate Cd Pell on was the fact he shared a Prespetery with a notorious Pedophile Ridsdale and his actions in relation to a Priest Searson as assistant Bishop. In relation to Ridsdale there was no evidence produced by the Commision he knew what Ridsdale was doing:
            ‘A submission prepared by his lawyers said the commission had not found “a single witness, nor a single document, which evidences that any person, lay or religious, provided information to Father Pell which would have indicated that Ridsdale was abusing children”.

            Note a prominent member of the Media Paul Bongiorno and former Priest and living there too. He also said that he had no knowledge of what was occurring. This has been accepted by the Australian media, Pell’s denials have not:

            https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/why-is-bongiorno-not-vilified-as-was-pell-why-is-pell-the-scapegoat/news-story/ff7be707798509e9973b0248bcbfc657

            Regarding Searson:
            From https://thesydneyinstitute.com.au/blog/issue-313/
            But actually summary and quote from the Royal Commission.

            Monsignor Doyle said that he “did not remember ever having a discussion or attending any briefings of Bishop Pell concerning Father Searson when he [Pell] was a Regional Bishop” in Melbourne.

             Mr Dooley said he never raised Searson’s sexual offending with (then) Bishop Pell.

             Mr Annett said that he never raised any matter concerning Searson or the Catholic Education Office with (then) Bishop Pell.

             Ms Briant said that she had never met George Pell or attended any meetings at which he was present. Moreover, Ms Briant said that, when employed by the CEO, she was not aware of any allegations of child sexual abuse with respect to Searson in the Doveton parish.

            The most telling part of the proceedings – ignored by David Marr, Mark Colvin and other journalists who reported the proceedings – was the following exchange between Sam Duggan and Monsignor Doyle (who acknowledged that he and George Pell disagreed on some issues of theology).

            MR DUGGAN: Monsignor, my name is Duggan and I represent Cardinal Pell. Monsignor, as I understand your evidence, your view, from about the mid-1980s, was that Searson should be removed from his parish; is that right?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: Yes, certainly.

            MR DUGGAN: And in fact, both you and other personnel at the Catholic Education Office had recommended to the Archbishop [Frank Little] decisive action to remove him?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: Yes.

            MR DUGGAN: And notwithstanding those recommendations, for more than a decade nothing was done by Archbishop Little to either remove him or suspend him; is that right?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: That’s correct.

            MR DUGGAN: Can I suggest to you that the main problem was that the power to remove resided with one man – do you accept that?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: I accept that, yes.

            MR DUGGAN: And unfortunately, it wasn’t you because you would have removed him; is that right?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: That’s correct.

            MR DUGGAN: Now, you were still the director of the education office in 1996 when Archbishop Pell took over [from Frank Little]?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: That’s correct.

            MR DUGGAN: And you would have been aware that, in the first months of him taking that office, he appointed the Independent Commissioner?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: That’s correct.

            MR DUGGAN: And one of the roles of the Independent Commissioner was to investigate complaints of sexual abuse by priests?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: That’s correct.

            MR DUGGAN: And one of the first priests to be referred to the Independent Commissioner was Searson, wasn’t he?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: I would think so, but I couldn’t say that definitely, that I knew that.

            MR DUGGAN: Well, do you recall this: Archbishop Pell took over in mid-1996 and by March 1997 Searson had been suspended?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: That’s correct. That’s right.

            MR DUGGAN: That was the sort of decisive action, wasn’t it, that you had been waiting a decade to occur?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: That’s right.

            MR DUGGAN: So you must have been both pleased and relieved not only for yourself but, more importantly, for the people of Holy Family Doveton, that that action had been taken by Archbishop Pell; is that right?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: Mmm, yes.

            MR DUGGAN: Now, had Archbishop Pell been the Archbishop of Melbourne in the mid 1980s and you recommended to him, as you did Archbishop Little, that Searson be removed, based on those events, would you agree that Searson would likely have been removed a decade earlier?

            MONSIGNOR DOYLE: Yes.

            MR DUGGAN: I have no further questions, thank you.

            Finally Cd Pell was the first person in Australia and probably in the World to introduce a redress scheme for abuse both in Victoria and NSW.

            What he did make an apology for and which I do believe is a failure was to make it difficult for one Sydney abuse victim to obtain redress outside the scheme by sueing the Church himself.

            In summary please do not rely upon Australian media for fair reporting of the Royal Commission. There combined efforts were a large part of what put an innocent man in gaol.

            Secondly the Royal Commission was no friend to Cd Pell and in my view treated him very differently to any other witness. As it is not a Court, they may have adverse findings against Cd Pell which are yet to be released, however it is imperative that once again we establish…are they based on any evidence.

          • Thank you, Jim, for that post. It was very informative.

            What’s next? “We, the Australian press, accuse you, Leslie, of supporting assault on children, because even though we have no evidence that you knew about abuse and even though you had no power to do anything about it even if you did kknow (and in fact even though you’ve never been to Australia), nonetheless you failed to do anything to stop the abuse. Bad Leslie, bad!

    • Tell me Robert, should the Catholic church in Victoria be above the law?
      Should the Pedofile priests be brought before the courts, yes or no?
      Should the Bishops who it can be shown allowed the abuse to continue by moving known sexual abusive prists from one parish to another be held accountable?
      In the clear and demonstrable event that the Church in Victoria did not act on these matters then processes outside the church, the first of which was a royal commision instigated by the premier of Victoria followed by a national royal commission because the Church wasn’t listening to those abused however the State Government was! Can you see how twisted is your accusation of the Premier truly is? It is pure fabrication and twisted logic emanating from a profound prejudice.

      • Jim, you said, “Hi Chris can I warn you not to assume that ‘Cardinal Pell was doing “damage control management”
        You can warn me [ whatever that means] but i will take no notice of your warning. I have read the links you provided and am more than familiar with the point of view they express and the arguments used in support of that point of view. I make it my business to know for fear of only understanding an issue from my own perspective.

        Now in reply, you do know that Cardinal Pell was, when in Ballarat, a member of the College of Consultors when priests where moved on from a parish where abuse took place. What is telling in the evidence Bishop Mulkearns gave to the royal commission where details relating to the deliberate practice of the secretary not recording discussions at meetings relating to Clerical abuse, the destruction of files, etc etc:
        https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/case_study_28_-_findings_report_-_catholic_church_authorities_in_ballarat_catholic_church_authorities_in_ballarat2.pdf
        page 441
        quoting from the report:

        [ Bishop Finnigan, who was formerly a bishop’s secretary to Bishop Mulkearns and member of the College of Consultors, told us that, if homosexuality or sexual activity with children was mentioned in a consultors’ meeting, he would not have recorded that in the minutes.

        There was evidence that some records relating to allegations of child sexual abuse were destroyed. Of the many reports to the Diocese which we have found were made by victims, their families and others in the community, very few were recorded in contemporaneous notes or documents.

        In his 1993 interview with Mr O’Connor, Bishop Mulkearns stated that he did not take any notes about referring Ridsdale for counselling after he received a complaint from Inglewood in 1975.2420 Later in that interview, Bishop Mulkearns stated: There are problems with files, as you would well understand, I mean things come to me only because I am the fellow’s Bishop, and wouldn’t come to me under other circumstances. Then if things that are in files get publicised, then not only this guy, but it is the whole relationship with all the Priests of the Diocese.

        He also said, ‘there are not many reports there. I have not got in writing, for example, that it was prudent for him to be appointed to Edenhope; that was something that was a phone conversation. I did not want to keep too much in writing, I suppose’. ]

        Little wonder then that this statement you point to is able to be made:
        A submission prepared by his lawyers said the commission had not found “a single witness, nor a single document, which evidences that any person, lay or religious, provided information to Father Pell which would have indicated that Ridsdale was abusing children”.

        by the way a known witness is Fr Gerald Ridsdales nephew who he abused. HERE IS A STATEMENT ON HOW HE WAS TREATED BY HIS OWN FAMILY when he disclosed being abused by Fr Ridsdale:

        “Mr David Ridsdale gave the following evidence:
        When my extended family first found out that I was abused by Gerald, some of
        them called me a liar and said, ‘No, none of that really happened’. One of my cousins
        refused to believe Gerald had ever done such a thing and called me a liar. Other
        members shrugged off my story and said, ‘You know David, he’s emotional and
        sensitive.’ Other family members have accused me of being a gold digger or that
        it was so long in the past I should have moved on by now.2534

        You see like the collection of individual here you find it so very easy, and might i add convenient, to not believe the many abused individuals who have given witness to these goings on in Ballarat and elsewhere with respegt to many aspects not just Cardinell Pell’s involvement.
        The sooner you all wake up the sooner you become part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.
        The victim is not the Catholic Church
        The victim is not Cadinel Pell
        The victims are the hundreds of then children, now adults and their families and parishes who have been denied justice. Yes many now are being heard and some financial compensation is being won in cases however the Church is still hiding from the light of the truth.

        With respect to the questioning of Monsignor Doyle by Mr Duggan, surely you are clutching at straws?
        Mr Duggan, Cardinal Pell’s legal representative at the commission hearing, a highly skilled barrister merely constructs a line of questioning that gets Cardinal Pell off the hook. There is nothing more to it.

        • “Jim, you said, “Hi Chris can I warn you not to assume that ‘Cardinal Pell was doing “damage control management.” You can warn me [ whatever that means] but i will take no notice of your warning.””

          He was clearly replying to Chris in Maryland’s post, since he quoted it. He wasn’t talking to you.

          
“I have read the links you provided and am more than familiar with the point of view they express and the arguments used in support of that point of view. I make it my business to know for fear of only understanding an issue from my own perspective. “

          Alas, your fears are realized. You understand the issue only from your own perspective, and refuse to recognize blatant injustice when you see it.

          “Now in reply, you do know that Cardinal Pell was, when in Ballarat, a member of the College of Consultors when priests where moved on from a parish where abuse took place.”

          You have provided no evidence that the reason for moving any abusing priest was discussed at any of those meetings from 1977 to 1983 when Cardinal Pell was a member, or that Cardinal Pell knew about the abuse.

          The report of the Royal Council, or, as you probably call it, “Holy Writ,” is replete with statements that make it clear that the people writing it were doing a lot of putting two and two together and sometimes making five, and that they are biased. “We are satisfied” that thus and such, or “we are not satisfied,” or “it would have been” such and such, or jumping from “it is possible that this happened” to “this *must* have happened,” or “Priests gossip so everybody must have known.” Where two people’s statements conflict, e.g. Mrs BAE’s and Father McDermott’s, the Council admits that they don’t have enough evidence to decide which statement is true, but not when it comes to Cardinal Pell. They are quite happy to say that Cardinal Pell’s testimony that he didn’t know about Ridsdale’s abuse when they shared a house was “implausible,” though when then-Father Bongiorno’s statement that he had never been told of Ridsdale’s abuse though a witness said he had, they admitted, “However, on the material available to us, we are unable to resolve the differing accounts of BPL and Mr Bongiorno.” No implausibility for Mr. Bongiorno, it seems.

          “Bishop Finnigan, who was formerly a bishop’s secretary to Bishop Mulkearns and member of the College of Consultors, told us that, if homosexuality or sexual activity with children was mentioned in a consultors’ meeting, he would not have recorded that in the minutes.”

          And if there was no mention of homosexuality or sexual activity with children, it would also not be recorded in the minutes. So you can’t actually draw any conclusions about whether it was discussed or not from the absence of mention.

          “There was evidence that some records relating to allegations of child sexual abuse were destroyed. Of the many reports to the Diocese which we have found were made by victims, their families and others in the community, very few were recorded in contemporaneous notes or documents.””

          Which has nothing to do with whether Cardinal Pell knew of the allegations. He wasn’t the person keeping the records.

          In his 1993 interview with Mr O’Connor, Bishop Mulkearns stated that he did not take any notes about referring Ridsdale for counselling after he received a complaint from Inglewood in 1975.”

          Two years before Cardinal Pell became a member of the College of Consultants.

          “Later in that interview, Bishop Mulkearns stated: There are problems with files, as you would well understand, I mean things come to me only because I am the fellow’s Bishop, and wouldn’t come to me under other circumstances. Then if things that are in files get publicised, then not only this guy, but it is the whole relationship with all the Priests of the Diocese. He also said, ‘there are not many reports there. I have not got in writing, for example, that it was prudent for him to be appointed to Edenhope; that was something that was a phone conversation. I did not want to keep too much in writing, I suppose’.

          “Little wonder then that this statement you point to is able to be made:
A submission prepared by his lawyers said the commission had not found “a single witness, nor a single document, which evidences that any person, lay or religious, provided information to Father Pell which would have indicated that Ridsdale was abusing children”.”

          The diocesan records are not the only documents in the world, you know. And nobody has made any claims that they told him, except those whose claims had to be dismissed because, for example, then-Father Pell wasn’t even in the country when the person said he told Fr. Pell about abuse.

          “by the way a known witness is Fr Gerald Ridsdales nephew who he abused. HERE IS A STATEMENT ON HOW HE WAS TREATED BY HIS OWN FAMILY when he disclosed being abused by Fr Ridsdale:”

          That David Ridsdale’s family treated him that was is terrible. It’s also irrelevant to the charges made against Cardinal Pell of which he was exonerated; and irrelevant to whether Cardinal Pell “must have known” about abuse when he was a priest or a member of the College of Consultors.

          “You see like the collection of individual here you find it so very easy, and might i add convenient, to not believe the many abused individuals who have given witness to these goings on in Ballarat and elsewhere with respegt to many aspects not just Cardinell Pell’s involvement.”

          I’ll type slowly so that perhaps you will be able to follow and understand. Nobody has denied that there was abuse going on in Ballarat and elsewhere. Various priests were charged and jailed for the offenses. A number of priests were suspended (by, as it happens, then-Archbishop Pell). But it is idiocy to yammer on about “many aspects not just Cardinal Pell’s [alleged] involvement” when the whole point of this article, and this discussion, *is* Cardinal Pell.

          The point is that THE ACCUSATIONS MADE AGAINST CARDINAL PELL FOR WHICH HE WAS CHARGED AND WRONGFULLY CONVICTED AND THEN EXONERATED ARE NOT TRUE. (See, I can shriek for emphasis, too). Grasp the concept: the convictions were blatantly, manifestly, obviously, inarguably wrong. There is no way that the events described by the accuser, Titus Oates, could have been true.

          Anyone who thinks that convicting a man on charges of which he is innocent is just fine as long as that anyone thinks he covered up (or even knew about) abuse is stupid, or evil, or possibly both.

          “The sooner you all wake up the sooner you become part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.”

          The solution to the problem is to investigate any accusations and determine whether they could have occurred, and, if there is sufficient evidence to conclude that they might have, to try the accused before a judge or jury or both of people who are not tainted by having heard constant public attacks on the accused for years. The solution is not to presume guilt as soon as someone is accused. (Another solution is to weed out sexual deviants from the seminaries and from the priesthood).

          
“The victim is not the Catholic Church”

          In the sense that the Church is hated because Her teachings on abortion, euthanasia, sodomy, divorce and remarriage, contraception, and a number of other things which go against the culture of death, and therefore is subject to a constant stream of abuse and spite in the media, yes, She is a victim.

          
“The victim is not Cadinel Pell.”

          The victim of false charges and a false conviction, now, thank heaven, rectified, though only after he spent over a year in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, is Cardinal Pell.

          
“The victims are the hundreds of then children, now adults and their families and parishes who have been denied justice.”

          Gerald Ridsdale and a number of others were convicted and imprisoned. Their victims, their families, and their parishes have been given justice. Other priests have been suspended. It is not within the power of the Church to imprison them. If they are not in prison and so justice has been denied their victims, it is something that the civil law will have to take up. Some priests who have been accused are now dead. They are facing utter Justice.

          “Yes many now are being heard and some financial compensation is being won in cases however the Church is still hiding from the light of the truth.”

          I know of nobody who is denying that abuse occurred. From what “light of the truth” do you think the Church is still hiding?

          “With respect to the questioning of Monsignor Doyle by Mr Duggan, surely you are clutching at straws?
Mr Duggan, Cardinal Pell’s legal representative at the commission hearing, a highly skilled barrister merely constructs a line of questioning that gets Cardinal Pell off the hook. There is nothing more to it.”

          There is plenty more to it. Are you accusing Monsignor Doyle of lying? If not, then the fact that Mr. Duggan is able to ask pertinent questions in an organized way to elicit the truth is hardly a bad thing, though in your spiteful hatred of the Cardinal, which becomes more obvious every time you post, you may think so.

          • I heard on the news this morning that the Victorian Government has cleared the release of unredacted royal commission findings. The redactions pertain to Cardinal Pell. The redactions pertain to Cardinal Pell and remained unpublished so as not to prejudice his trial.

          • That’s nice. Have you read the High Court’s complete decision yet? Have you figured out yet what the presumption of innocence is? Are you willing to state flatly that it is wrong to convict a man for something based on the word of one person when some twenty other people contraict what he said?

            And while we’re at it, you never did tell us whether you reported to authorities the abuse that you claim those troubled youth told you about back in the 1980’s. Did you?

            And you’re ignoring the blatant bias of your idol, the Royal Commission.

  7. Mr Weigel, thank you for your consistent and courageous clarity on this matter concerning someone you obviously know well. Be in no doubt that your writings on this matter have encouraged many, myself included, to continue to pray for justice. Praise God.

    • Leslie, i think you havn’t been paying attention to detail. I have already stated that I accept the out come of the legal process and the High Courts decision regarding the trial of Cardinal Pell.

      and your statement;

      “And while we’re at it, you never did tell us whether you reported to authorities the abuse that you claim those troubled youth told you about back in the 1980’s. Did you?”

      leaves me wondering what you are on about. I suggest you re read what in fact I wrote in that reply and the context i wrote it in.

      and finally, with respect to this statement of yours;
      “And you’re ignoring the blatant bias of your idol, the Royal Commission.”

      I think it is best for you to avoid your subtle accusation of Idolatry. It is also obvious that, to those who have an understanding of the depth and scope of the royal commission, you are speaking of what you have little understanding and knowledge of.

      It is my hope that the work of the Royal Commission will be the subject of serious scholarly endeavour and honest perusal within the Catholic Church.
      If the Church as a whole does not take seriously the overall work of the Royal Commission it will be inevitable that the same mistakes as where made by the leadership of the Catholic Church of Australia will be repeated. It is worth stating that the Royal Commission dealt with many organisations and institutions and the resulting findings and recommendations are a very worthwhile study of the subject of Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

      • “Leslie, i think you havn’t been paying attention to detail. I have already stated that I accept the out come of the legal process and the High Courts decision regarding the trial of Cardinal Pell.”

        I have indeed been paying attention to detail. You say, with your teeth visibly clenched, that you accept the High Court’s decision. But what I am asking is whether you are willing to state without equivocation that it is wrong on principle to convict a man for something based on the word of one person when some twenty other people contradict what that one person said.

        “and your statement;
        ““And while we’re at it, you never did tell us whether you reported to authorities the abuse that you claim those troubled youth told you about back in the 1980’s. Did you?”
        “leaves me wondering what you are on about. I suggest you re read what in fact I wrote in that reply and the context i wrote it in. “

        What I’m on about is that for months you have been saying that Cardinal Pell deserved to be convicted because you believe he knew about abuse and did nothing about it. He says that he did not know about the abuse before it became public knowledge; and in any event even if he had known about it he was in no position to do anything. As soon as he was in a position of authority he set up a system to deal with it. You, on the other hand, boasted, “I do not have intimate knowledge of the matters of abuse but i have walked with and talked with those who do. Can I say that among the thousands of Catholics in Melbourne, relatively few would have anything near a comprehensive understanding of the scope of instances of abuse in the Parishes of Melbourne. Hardly anyone has an intimate knowledge of the goings on in the streets of the CBD in the 80’s I count it a great privilege and responsibility that I do…” So, you admit that you had knowledge of abuse, and I want to know whether you did anything about it. Did you report the abuse to the authorities? If not, why not? If you’re accused by someone of abuse and twenty-something witnesses testify that you couldn’t have done it, should we argue that you should be convicted because you knew about abuse and did nothing about it?

        “and finally, with respect to this statement of yours;
“And you’re ignoring the blatant bias of your idol, the Royal Commission.”
        “I think it is best for you to avoid your subtle accusation of Idolatry.”

        Subtle? Don’t be absurd, I wasn’t being subtle, I was being quite obvious.

        “ It is also obvious that, to those who have an understanding of the depth and scope of the royal commission, you are speaking of what you have little understanding and knowledge of.”

        By “those who have an understanding of the depth and scope of the royal commission,” you mean “those who ignore the obvious evidence of bias displayed by the royal commission.”

        “It is my hope that the work of the Royal Commission will be the subject of serious scholarly endeavour and “honest perusal within the Catholic Church.””

        It is my hope that the work of the Royal Commission will be the subject of serious scholarly endeavor and honest perusal as their prejudice, bias, and false conclusions are laid bare, and that no other Royal Commission ever behaves so shamefully.

        “If the Church as a whole does not take seriously the overall work of the Royal Commission it will be inevitable that the same mistakes as where made by the leadership of the Catholic Church of Australia will be repeated. It is worth stating that the Royal Commission dealt with many organisations and institutions and the resulting findings and recommendations are a very worthwhile study of the subject of Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.”

        The Royal Commission ignored the overwhelming majority of abuse, which takes place outside of institutions. And the Royal Commission’s report shows that the percentage of abuse in the Church is lower than that in other institutions, but nevertheless the Royal Commission, in a truly staggering display of bigotry, demands that the Church abolish priestly celibacy and the seal of Confession.

  8. Christopher Hallam accuses Mr Weigel of bias, to put it mildly.
    I wonder though did Mr Hallam read the 200+ pages of the dissenting judge of the Victoria Appeal Court? As a lawyer I have rarely if ever read a more devastating dismantling by a judge of his colleagues. No one could read that judgment (I also read the judgments of the other two judges) without reaching the same reasonable conclusions which Mr Weigel has summarised above. I dare you, Mr Hallam, to read the judgments and rethink your opinion.

    • I read that decision. Justice Weinberg exercised heroic self-restraint by not saying “Ignore the decision written above by the two morons.”

      On the bright side, if I ever want to make a bunch of money quickly, I now know of two people so credulous that I can offer to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge if I sound convincing and sincere.

  9. Congratulations to you George on the acquittal of your friend Cardinal Pell. I have followed your defense of his innocence in your articles throughout this sordid affair. I truly share in your joy!

    Growing up, I never appreciated much the importance of the meditation onf the passion of our Lord and Stations of the Cross in a Christian’s daily life. I am gradually coming to appreciate it more.

    Many people fail to appreciate the depth and truth of the Christian belief in original sin. We are all fallen and live in a fallen world with personal and collective evil proclivities. As a consequence, whether you are a good or bad man, you will one time or the other suffer the consequence of other people’s malice or transferred aggression. This is in addition to the negative reaction you will provoke in others by your own transgressions. Psalm 50 put it succinctly: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me! Living in a fallen world means being exposed to senseless and unmerited suffering. Our Lord himself being innocent told the compassionate women who were weeping over his death sentence that the should rather weep for themselves and for their children rather than weep for himself because if he (the green wood) suffered that much, how much more would they the guilty ones (the dry ones) suffer! Meditation on the passion of our Lord prepares a Christian to cope with and respond well to these trials.

    Besides, truly innocent people often get scandalized by the apparent injustice they and others are subjected to in this fallen world. For some this provides a justification for the rejection of the existence of God. For others, it may serve as an excuse for nihilism or other lifestyles that in practice amount to practical agnosticism or atheism.

    The life, passion, death and resurrection of our Lord reminds us that we are all on a journey to the Father’s house and that suffering is actually part and parcel of our condition as fallen children of Adam. In the midst of the apparent chaos and injustices we or other people experience is the enduring truth of God’s providence and the ultimate triumph of truth and justice precisely because of the hope of heaven! Thus a Christian may commit himself to working for and living by the truth in full confidence that truth and justice will ultimately prevail over and against today’s false but fashionable opinions and fads. It is this consciousness of the stability and ultimate triumph of the truth that has kept the martyrs and saints steadfast in their pursuit of the Truth.

    In contrast to this hope of eternal life and justice is the fretfulness of the leftist anti-Christian mob that lack hope and are bent on settling every score with whoever offends them even at the cost of innocent lives precisely because of a lack of belief in God’s providence and an after life! Christ died for the truth and his death seemed to be a tragic and final ending to all that he did and stood for. Yet in dying, he revealed his divinity and his power to redeem us.

    When a Christian suffers for the truth his reward is magnified. Hence our joyful hope in the midst of sufferings and misunderstandings. With his taste of public shame, Cardinal Pell has been blessed with a taste of Gethsemane and Golgotha. As a consequence, he is more identified with his innocent and suffering Master. This will be his future crown if he remains faithful to the end of his life!

    The foregoing is not an apology for any errors, sins or mistakes committed by George Cardinal Pell. He is a mortal man and needs to struggle like every other Christian to remain faithful to his calling. I am sure he regularly goes for confession and is very conscious of his frailties as a man. But to convict a sinful man for a crime he did not commit just for the sake of intimidating the man and the institution he represents borders on the diabolic.

      • Exactly my thoughts. He follows the way of His Master who was persecuted and hung to die.

        The servant is not grater than His Master.

        What a timing that this happens in Holy Week.

    • Daniel a well presented Lesson worthy of careful reading and reflection for all. You write as someone who lectures. If not in the lecture hall your writing on the internet suffices well.

    • Daniel..a brilliant synposis of the true purpose of suffering & why all followers of Christ must be prepared to undergo their own passion in order to be granted the reward of the resurrection. As Christ said…the master cannot be greater than the servant.

  10. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for answering our prayer for Cardinal Pell’s exoneration! We can take heart that vindication should come about in Holy Week, it magnifies its significance.
    God reward the Justices who were willing to, in effect, pass judgement on a justice system which went off the rails. Undoubtedly they will be getting some throw back.
    Cardinal Pell’s demonstrated indomitable faith and fortitude throughout this unspeakable horror story bespeaks the nature of the man whom so many of us had come to appreciate and admire over the years. God provide him abundant healing and consolation and preserve him from all further persecution.
    T

  11. “The High Court’s decision will not change the minds of the pathological Pell-haters”; I say hatred for the bloody RC is the root of the matter which is alive and strong in all English speaking lands. Good summary Mr. Weigel but too kind to the haters.

    • More specifically David its driven by a “hatred” of Jesus Christ which only emphasizes the true diabolical source behind the persecution.

    • I read an article at a site I don’t normally visit, and the comments were, and remain, vicious. I thought they were only ignorant of some of the details, having probably not read Justice Weinberg’s dissent or the High Court’s decision. But, no, they just hate Christians in general and Catholics in particular, especially priests.

  12. I hope that I am a good “Labour leftie” largely because of my Catholic faith, like generations of English Catholics. On the other hand, I have no problem with Catholic Tories. This verdict is purely a matter of justice in which political comment should play no part. I wish merely to concur with the comment that this problem is not confined to Australia. As an English priest I have more than once heard the comment “All priests are paedophiles” . This is a common position among the public, from whom jurors are drawn. Any priest accused of abuse is convicted before he sets foot in court. A former colleague of mine is serving eighteen years for offences which, as with Cardinal Pell, it was impossible for him to have committed. The Crown didn’t contest his assertion to that effect, yet the jury took less than two hours to convict . There was no evidence, only the unsupported testimony of a witness who was considered “credible”. In effect, priests are, as in former times, being condemned for priesthood.

    • And that witness is not allowed to be identified publicly, meaning that nobody might see who he is and say, “Hey, wait a minute, he can’t be telling the truth because….” or “Wait, he made similar accusations on several other occasions,” or whatever. (I’m not saying that he did, I’m saying that if he had the fact that he remained anonymous precluded the possibility of such a thing being revealed if he had done it).

      And at the second trial, his testimony consisted only of the videotape of his first testimony; so defense could not cross-examine him again.

      I hope the jurors, and the two judges who were the majority in the appellate court, are feeling heartily ashamed of themselves. But such is the spite and hatred that seems to permeate Victoria that I doubt it.

      • Jude, if indeed as I assume, you are the Jame Jude, may I quote you from another discussion as it has relevance to this discussion:
        https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/11/05/minnesota-bishop-kept-admitted-child-abuser-in-ministry-did-not-investigate-allegation-of-abuse/

        Jude
        NOVEMBER 6, 2019 AT 1:58 PM
        Terence, Our Lord does not step in at the eleventh hour, but the twelfth. He rose, not when He was dying, but when He had been dead three days.
        This story, the gatekeepers of the seminaries turning faithful priests away, is more of the past, detailed by Michael Rose in ‘Goodbye Good Men’. These seminaries were enabled to distort the message of Christ by the relaxation permitted by Vatican II (as it was applied, at least). Homosexual networks arose and operated and we see the fruits now. The level of abuse that occurred had to have complicity at the top of the hierarchy, either overtly or by a failure to prosecute and eradicate. We are seeing more of the same in Rome. The top hierarchy who do not prosecute or eradicate use technicalities as excuses or feigned sympathy/empathy, but they are facilitators and enablers, either because they are part of the abuse, or they are compromised in some way. The good thing is that there is a light shining into it and those who are the problem are being exposed. The bad side is that they are not being prosecuted or eradicated in Rome, but despite Rome. But that is ok too, as that means we have their measure too.

  13. Unfortunately (or otherwise) your comment can indeed be reduced to that : a hatred of the author.

    Sad that so many people like yourself are incapable of distinguishing between the pederasts (gay priests) who perpetuated the abuse and the case in question.

    In fact, it is the LGBT community who has it out for Pell. I wonder if the police investigation and everything related to the prosecution was not bankrolled by gay money.

    • A quote If I may;

      “Men need more than just grasping and holding; they need understanding, which gives power to their actions and their hands; they also need perception, hearing, reason that reaches to the bottom of the heart. And only when understanding remains open to reason, which is greater than it is, can it be genuinely rational and acquire true knowledge If you do not love you do not know.” — Joseph Ratzinger, 1983.2

  14. Long ago I took a week in Australia courtesy of Uncle Sam. I remember with great fondness the generosity and friendliness of everyone I met. But now, as a Catholic, I’m not sure I would be welcome there, and clearly the police and judiciary in Victoria are not to be trusted.

  15. It always amazes me that some people have no problem accepting a guilty verdict pronounced the the criminal court, and yet many of the same people reject the verdict when the guilty judgment is overturned by the same legal system. I wonder how interested are such people to know the truth!

  16. Though not a legal proceeding,, this has parallels with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation: long ago “events”, no material evidence, no credible corroboration, inconsistencies in the accuser’s testimony. The frightening thing is there are so many people/jurists with legal training who disregard these fundamental considerations for political or ideological motives.

    • Tom, putting aside the case of Cardinal Pell and speaking more generally if I may, consider the reality that in abuse cases, the only witness is usually the victim and the perpetrator? We all would wish justice for legitimate victims and consequences for perpetrators. The Royal Commission i refer to has asked legislature the legal profession, and others to explore and develop a legal framework where justice is served in these situations. this is not motivated by political nor ideological motives but a motive that justice be served. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered abuse at the hands of the Priests of Melbourne and Ballarat. I have no ideological barrow to push in this regard nor do I have a political agenda. I’m left to wonder what will legitimate Catholic victims of clerical abuse think when they come to this web site and read of the opinions expressed here. All reasonable people would not want an innocent man punished for the crimes of others. I would implore all here to at the very least attempt to understand the broader more nuanced story unfolding right here in the Body Of Christ.

      • You are passionate Christopher Hallam, but you do not persuade. Not all Australian Catholics share your views on setting aside the legal tradition of innocence unless PROVEN guilty. I sincerely hope that the legal fraternity ignores such recommendations which you describe from the Royal Commission. I myself sat in a court and watched a disturbed, angry man accuse a priest of a crime that had never occurred. Yet he was very convincing. He even had family members testify that his story was true, even though they had not witnessed any crime. In that instance, the Magistrate rightly judged that there could be no trial without a serious possibility of conviction. Are the actual victims of abuse assisted by journalists and lawyers who seek to prosecute their cause? Or are the victims left in greater ruin than when they started, because nothing could be proven? Are not the journalists and lawyers (even police) also part of the abuse of such victims? You, Sir, do not wish to build up, you wish to tear down, but you are quite clever in disguising that with fine words. It is possible to have practical compassion for actual victims of abuse without embracing bigoted views such as yours. One last thing, it is obvious you ALWAYS like to have the last word.

        • Newcastle, you have been unfair and misleading in your statement characterising my position as “setting aside the legal tradition of innocence unless PROVEN guilty” Again an example of placing me in the pigeonhole of your own perceptions to suit and reinforce your own pre judgement of my motivation and intent.

          As to your question “Are not the journalists and lawyers (even police) also part of the abuse of such victims?”
          How so? In the interest of integrity we need to clarify such a concept with regard to the Clerical sexual abuse of minors in Victoria.

          Now let us look at this statement of yours pertaining to me ” You, Sir, do not wish to build up, you wish to tear down, but you are quite clever in disguising that with fine words. ”

          I could take that as a compliment 🙂
          Too right I wish to tear down and dismantle the false assumptions and misleading innuendo and the outright misrepresentations contained in Mr Weigel’s several articles about Australia, our justice system, our people on the street, our media and the tireless advocates of the many individuals who have been abused by, not only the abusive priests but corporately abused by the response of the leadership of our Church!
          Where does this leave Mr Weigel?

      • Christopher,

        One one of the threads about this someone from Ballarat posted, praising Cardinal Pell for immediately doing something about the abuse when he became Archbishop. Someone also (it may have been the same person) pointed out that there have been no reported cases in Ballarat for twenty years.

        Legitimate victims of clerical abuse will find sympathy here. The comments on the articles about Timothy McCarrick show that. But I can’t bring myself to sympathize the accuser in this case: he repeatedly changed his story, the things he described as happening couldn’t have, given the timing and the logistics, his story bears remarkable similarities to one published previously in Rolling Stone about “Billy Doe” (an accuser who according to an investigative reporter lied; verdicts have been overturned). I don’t know whether he has deiberately lied or whether he is suffering from false memory or delusions, but the story he told could not be true.

        • Leslie, relating to your comment re the man from Ballarat’s reference to Cardinal Pell for immediately doing something about the abuse when he became Archbishop. What about when Cardinal Pell was in charge of Catholic education in Ballarat?
          Also what was the impetus for Cardinal Pells “doing something about the abuse when he became Archbishop.”
          The article i link to for your and others information pertains to the role a Previous Premier of Victoria played in prompting the then Archbishop Pell to act. It is or should be a most enlightening revelation for many who demonise the “Liberal” godless hoards of victoria and the wicked raveging lying press someone here referred to as “THE LEGACY MEDIA”
          The Premier was the leader of the conservative Government of Victoria at the time.

          https://www.smh.com.au/national/jeff-kennett-warned-pell-to-deal-with-abuse-20140327-35lrw.html
          [quote]
          Jeff Kennett has confirmed he bluntly warned Cardinal George Pell in the 1990s to resolve allegations of child sexual abuse or possibly face a royal commission.

          The former premier said he recalled telling the cardinal to deal with abuse complaints or face significant consequences for the church. But Mr Kennett said he had made no judgment on the adequacy of the response at the time.

          George said ‘yes’, he’d get stuck into it,” Mr Kennett said. ”A couple of months later I was told that he had put together a response … and I just assumed that, right, he is on top of it and it’s not for me to sit in judgment … of whether the response was adequate or not.”

          Cardinal Pell this week admitted he wanted to avoid big damages claims. As a result, he set up the ”Melbourne Response” to deal with complaints, which included a $50,000 cap on payouts.
          —————————-
          Now this reality of the situation in Victoria should in the mind of any reasonable person cast doubt on the narrative that Mr Weigel consistently presents about an anti Catholic anti Pell sentiment that is verging on threatening our legal and democratic process. His Position is untenable.

          ( May I remind you unequivocally that this information is for the purpose of a critique of Mr Weigel’s writing on the matter and has no relation to the High Courts decision which I accept. )

          • I might add the bleeding obvious. If the premier of Victoria knew priests where abusing children why was the church above the law? Why was Cardinal Pell not required to present the offending priests to the police for due legal process? Something was very wrong, corrupt even ! Who is above the law? It’s is a fact that these Priests where and it’s way overdue that they face the full force of the law.

          • Your résponse makes no sense. You claim to accept the High Court’s verdict, and only wish to challenge Mr. Weigel on his article. Yet nowhere in his article was he defending the Church in Australia or excusing anything, which isn’t to imply that such a defense couldn’t be offered, only that it wasn’t being offered here.

            Further little else of what you’ve offered makes sense. The only topic is the debacle of justice, that came within a whisker of putting an innocent man in prison, quite possibly for the rest of his life, and you seem to wish to glide over that in pursuit of a wholly different agenda.

            The facts are devastating and irrefutable. This case NEVER should have been brought in the first place. There were serious credibility problems from the onset such that the Victorical prosecutors refused initially to bring the case at all, leaving it to the Victoria police to prosecute it themselves, though later the prosecutor’s office did opt to get involved. At the second trial ( the first resulting in 10-2 in favor of acquittal hung jury) the complainant did not even testify and was therefore not subject to any cross-examination. Under what fair system of justice is such a practice allowed? Further, the rules of evidence were changed, quite possibly with this very case in mind, so that jury instructions regarding witness credibility, all but prevented defense counsel from pointing out the overwhelming evidence of lack of corroboration.

            One is left to wonder whether or not you would have been perfectly content to allow an innocent man to remain in prison and quite possibly die there, in the interest of some imagined “greater justice” by which Cardinal Pell would be sacrificed, innocent or not, for what you perceive to be the sins of the Australian Church. In other words a “balancing of the scales” in some perverse fashion whereby guilt or innocence of the charge at hand is immaterial since he’s probably guilty of something else. If so, your thinking is dangerous to anyone who cherishes freedom under the rule of law.

            https://thefreedomsproject.com/item/493-ten-sets-of-questions-for-vicpol-on-the-pell-case

            https://hughosb.org/2020/04/09/how-did-the-pell-case-get-so-far-a-smoking-gun/

          • Christopher, your position seems to be:
            1. Cardinal Pell when he was a priest knew about abuse and did nothing about it
            2. The only reason he did anything about abuse when he became Archbishop was because Jeffrey Kennet told him he had to.
            3. Cardinal Pell cared only about the money.
            4. SOMEBODY MUST PAY!!!!!!!!!

            The Royal Commission to which you cling as if it’s your hope of salvation appears to me to have been extremely biased. The person questioning Cardinal Pell condemns as “implausible” his testimony that he did not know of abuse by Ridsdale, with whom he lived in the same house for a while. Yet, when it comes to Paul Bongiorno, at the time a priest but now a left-wing journalist, who denied that he knew about Ridsdale’s abuse despite living in the same house for a while, and of whom the commission reported that a witness claimed that he had told Bongiorno specifically about inappropriate behavior by Ridsdale, which Bongiorno denied, it’s a different story. “Our experience during this inquiry confirms ordinary human experience that memory can be unreliable after the passage of time. However, on the material available to us, we are unable to resolve the differing accounts of BPL and Mr Bongiorno.” That’s it. Not “Mr. Bongiorno’s account is implausible.”

            https://thesydneyinstitute.com.au/blog/pells-implausible-testimony-not-met-with-facts-to-the-contrary/ and https://thesydneyinstitute.com.au/blog/issue-390/

            What evidence do you have that he knew of the abuse? “He must have known” isn’t evidence, it’s an opinion.

            You wrote: “What about when Cardinal Pell was in charge of Catholic education in Ballarat?”

            Well? *What* about it? Of what specifically are you accusing him? And by specifically, I don’t mean, “Well, but he must have known something.” What exactly do you think he knew? What evidence do you have for that belief?

            Looking solely at the time before he became Archbishop of Melbourne and had the authority to do something, what precisely do you think he should have done?

            You asked, “Also what was the impetus for Cardinal Pells “doing something about the abuse when he became Archbishop.””

            Ah, so now it isn’t only that he had to do something (which he did), but also he has to prove what the impetus for his doing that was. You act as if the only reason he did it was because Jeffrey Kennet told him he had to. How do you know? There have been occasions when I have been urged to do something I was going to do anyway. Even Elizabeth I declined to make windows into men’s souls, but here’s you believing that you have the authority to do it. The point is that within a couple of months of having the authority to do so he set up a response. Perhaps it wasn’t a perfect response, but he did do something to try to stop the abuse and solve the problem and to help the victims (and that would be actual victims, not opportunistic liars).

            While you’re delving into motives, take a good look at why the people in the media have been attacking Cardinal Pell for years. They are out to “change” the Church, that is to recreate it in their own abortion-approving, homosexual-marriage-supporting, divorce-and-remarriage-promoting, feminist-deifying image.

            “Now this reality of the situation in Victoria should in the mind of any reasonable person cast doubt on the narrative that Mr Weigel consistently presents about an anti Catholic anti Pell sentiment that is verging on threatening our legal and democratic process. His Position is untenable.
            ( May I remind you unequivocally that this information is for the purpose of a critique of Mr Weigel’s writing on the matter and has no relation to the High Courts decision which I accept. )”

            I’m glad to know that you accept the High Court’s decision. Have you read it yet? But I have read not a few articles pointing out the atmosphere of hatred to which Mr. Weigel refers. https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2018/11/anti-catholic-media-coverage-child-sexual-abuse/ https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2019/02/catholics-sex-and-cardinal-pell/ for another. It’s not just Mr. Weigel.

            “I might add the bleeding obvious. If the premier of Victoria knew priests where abusing children why was the church above the law? Why was Cardinal Pell not required to present the offending priests to the police for due legal process? Something was very wrong, corrupt even ! Who is above the law? It’s is a fact that these Priests where and it’s way overdue that they face the full force of the law.”

            Why on earth should Cardinal Pell have presented anybody to the police for due legal process? If the premier of Victoria knew about it, then so, presumably, did the police (or someone, unless you believe that the premier of Victoria had direct personal knowledge). They had only to investigate (properly, not picking someone and advertising for someone willing to claim to be a victim), and, if there was sufficient evidence, bring charges. And which particular priests who committed abuse do you think are “above the law” and haven’t faced the full force of the law? (Limit yourself to the ones who aren’t dead, please. The dead ones are undoubtedly facing perfect justice).

            A link in the second Quadrant article above leads to a story about the case of Archbishop Wilson, who was convicted of failing to report child abuse some forty years before, and had his conviction overturned. You might want to read that article, and the comments.

            “Cardinal Pell this week admitted he wanted to avoid big damages claims. As a result, he set up the ”Melbourne Response” to deal with complaints, which included a $50,000 cap on payouts.”

            Can you provide a link to that statement so I can read it?

            In any event, there is nothing wrong with wanting to avoid big damage claims. There is a responsibility to help all the people who were hurt, through paying for therapy and so on. The supply of money is not unlimited; massive payments to the first people who reported that they had been abused would mean nothing would have been left to help others. Huge payouts also bring in the opportunistic liars, like Daniel Gallagher, also known as “Billy Doe,” whose accusation are so similar to those of the accuser in Cardinal Pell’s case: https://www.newsweek.com/2016/01/29/billy-doe-altar-boy-sends-four-men-prison-philadelphia-rape-case-417565.html

      • Christopher, there may be true victims who don’t get justice because they cannot establish the burden of proof, and that is a sad sad outcome, but in a just society better a few of the guilty go unpunished than an innocent man/woman is punished unjustly. By every account I’ve read, including the 2 supporters on the appeals court, this case did not nearly meet the burden of proof/evidence/corroboration. Otherwise, you are drifting into the Soviet orbit: “Find me the man and I’ll find you the crime”. God forbid.

        • Tom, with respect to the many accusations and assumptions that have been directed towards my position regarding Mr Weigle’s many articles on the Subject of Cardinal Pell please consider this quote from another article printed here:
          The Menace of the Herd:
          https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2013/04/23/the-menace-of-the-herd/
          The ability to reason is a gift of God, cultivated with hard work and a willingness to compare the narrative to the facts. Believers have no cause to be timid when it comes to confronting the fallacies purveyed by the smart set. Revelation is on our side, but so are reason, history, and human experience.

          • Christopher, I am delighted to hear that you are finally going to have recourse to reason, and compare the false narrative of the accuser with the facts that were testified to by the twenty-something other witnesses. It will make a refreshing change. The fallacies purveyed by the smart set of the ABC and the rest of the baying mob do need to be confronted, and it’s good to know you’re finally going to join the rest of us in doing so.

      • You may or may not have an ideological agenda, but you certainly have no serious argument that Pell is guilty of what he was convicted. Not once, in your criticisms of Weigel’s columns over the last year, have you even attempted to refute the many facts cited by Cardinal Pell’s supporters pointing to the practical impossibility of the crimes that are alleged having been committed. Instead you bring up extraneous matter (Pell was nto on trial for covering up other priests’ sexual abuse), and, up until now, demanded that the rest of us simply accept the decision of the Court. Why don’t you come back when you are willing to debate in good faith?

  17. I wonder if this trial and conviction on flimsy evidence can be said to be of one piece with the kangaroo courts that exist in the legacy media and in social media? Remember the media slander of the Covington Catholic high school students? People are quite ready to slander, defame, and destroy anyone who they feel offends their PC SJW virtue signaling. To them the only thing that matters is their narrative. I can’t help but think that this taints the ability of society to see that justice is done. Long term, how can people raised in this kind of environment be counted on to be just? The problems with the Pell trial/verdict go way beyond Australia.

  18. Some, Christopher Halloram among them, would benefit by paying attention to the details of this case as set forth by these two articles, which leave no doubt as to the depth of corruption in the Australian legal system, at least in Victoria.

    The first article contains a precise summary of the grave problems; the threat to impartial justice, inherent in the Pell case. https://hughosb.org/2020/04/09/how-did-the-pell-case-get-so-far-a-smoking-gun/

    The second article, contains an almost indescribable system of “justice” to which Cardinal Pell was subjected. How many know that at the second trial (the first ended in a hung jury, 10-2 in favor of acquittal), the complainant did not even testify and was therefore NOT subject to cross examination? Any comparison Mr. Halloram would make with the U.S. criminal justice system is annihilated on that basis alone. The Victoria Police had a virtual “get Pell” squad and actually placed ads in newspapers, trawling for alleged “victims” to come forward, notwithstanding the inherent dangers of attracting liars in pursuit of easy money from the Church, and notwithstanding the discredited practice generally as shown by abuses documented by similar practices elsewhere. There’s much more in this detailed report. No one can read it and brush off the concerns of this case, as Mr. Halloram seems to have done. https://thefreedomsproject.com/item/493-ten-sets-of-questions-for-vicpol-on-the-pell-case

    Objectively speaking, this case was a debacle for justice in Australia; Victoria in particular, and for criminal justice everywhere. It should be taken as a lesson as to how innocent people can be virtually framed and made to suffer greatly due to grave misconduct by police and prosecutors. There must be an accounting.

    • From Op-Ed – The Curious Case of Cardinal Pell: “The Power of the State was Recruited to Destroy Pell”
      by Fr Glen Tattersall,
      Melbourne, Victoria

      “State power has been recruited in an effort to destroy Pell. This situation cannot be swept under the carpet.’’

      So wrote Paul Kelly, Australia’s pre-eminent political commentator, in The Australian newspaper on Spy Wednesday.

      [later]

      In the Pell case, everything hinged on the credibility of the complainant, whose name remains suppressed in Australia. Nor was he even required to appear in person – even in a closed court. In the first trial, he gave evidence via video link from a remote location, comforted by a “support’’ dog! In the second trial, held after the jury in the first trial failed to reach a verdict, the complainant’s cross-examination was replayed to a fresh jury. In both trials, the Cardinal’s defence team — and therefore the jury – was denied access to vital evidence: specifically, that the complainant had a history of serious psychological problems that required treatment.

      Shortcomings in the conduct of both trials were manifold, including the failure to take the jury to St Patrick’s Cathedral on a busy Sunday morning to see the atmosphere in which the offences allegedly occurred. The Victorian Court of Appeal’s shameful decision, by a 2-1 margin, to reject the Cardinal’s appeal in August 2019, compounded the injustice. The judges in the majority based their decision on the credibility of the complainant. Only the dissenting judge, Justice Mark Weinberg, one of Australia’s most experienced jurists in criminal matters, was ‘quite unconvinced’ by the complainant’s evidence. In a 204-page judgement, he argued Pell’s conviction “cannot be permitted to stand’’ because there was a significant possibility that the Cardinal was innocent.

        • I’ve read the unredacted testimony. And the Royal Commission’s bias is on display in flashing neon letters a foot high.

          As an example, in the case of a priest named Baker who had abused a child and was moved to another parish, “There is nothing in the minutes to indicate whether the complaint in relation to BTO was discussed. The minutes record nothing at all of the discussion (if any) surrounding the appointment. Monsignor Connors’ evidence was that he would not have raised the complaint and could not recall whether the Archbishop [Little] did so. Monsignor Connors was the only person who gave evidence of this meeting and we accept his evidence. It follows that we do not know whether the BTO complaint was discussed.”

          On the other hand, in 1977 Cardinal Pell was at a Consultors meeting where a priest named Ridsdale who had abused boys was moved. Cardinal Pell said that pedophilia was not definitely mentioned at the meeting, but that homosexuality might have been, as another Consultor testified. But the Commission said that no, pedophilia must have been mentioned. Because gossip. No uncertainty here. Oh, no, Cardinal Pell must have known.

          I’ve already mentioned the different way that the denials of Paul Bongiorno (former priest, now left-wing reporter) and Cardinal Pell of convresations and of knowledge of Ridsdale’s activities were received. Re Bongiorno: “Well, after all this time we really can’t tell which one is remembering correctly.” Re Pell: “We believe what the other person said and don’t believe Pell.”

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  3. The Innocence of Cardinal Pell – St Anne Line Catholic Church
  4. Pope Francis Prays for Those Condemned Unjustly as Australian Court Acquits Cardinal George Pell - Wild Sage News & Views
  5. Pope Francis Prays for Those Condemned Unjustly as Australian Court Acquits Cardinal George Pell – MDC News Today
  6. Pope Francis Prays for Those Condemned Unjustly as Australian Court Acquits Cardinal George Pell | Politicopathy
  7. On dayliq – Pope Francis Prays for Unjustly Condemned as Court Acquits Cardinal Pell – Dayliq
  8. Pope Francis Prays for Those Condemned Unjustly as Australian Court Acquits Cardinal George Pell – REAL News 45
  9. Pope Francis Prays for Unjustly Condemned as Court Acquits Cardinal Pell | Prime Patriot
  10. AUSTRALIA Cardinal Pell’s stunning vindication highlights anti-Catholic bias of Victoria police, judiciary - National Association of Catholic Families
  11. Cardinal Pell – free even when incarcerated - California Catholic Daily
  12. Cardinal George Pell vs the Obsession Lobby - Sydney Trads
  13. After Cardinal Pell’s rightful acquittal – Catholic World Report
  14. After Cardinal Pell’s rightful acquittal - Catholic Daily
  15. After Cardinal Pell’s rightful acquittal - Catholic Mass Search

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