Australia’s Cardinal Pell charged with sex offences

​It’s Pell’s last stand. He’s had a target on his back for decades​, has a record for uncompromising support of what he considers the right thing.

​He is a blunt speaker, a tough and practical manager, a theological conservative, a supporter of the Pope, and an outspoken critic of contemporary social mores. He was the plumber of the Australian Catholic Church, the man who fearlessly waded into the sewer of its sex abuse scandal and cleared the blocked drains.

So Pell has no shortage of enemies. When Australia had a referendum on changing the head of state from the Queen of England, he was a leading supporter of Australia becoming a Republic. That was divisive. He opposes homosexual activism, which is divisive. He strongly opposes same-sex marriage, which is bitterly divisive. He supported John Paul II to the hilt and amongst his clergy that was divisive. He set up his own sex-abuse protocol and amongst the Australian bishops that was divisive. He shook up the Melbourne seminary and that was divisive. In his role in the Vatican, he has worked hard to set finances right and root out corruption and that was divisive.​

​Now he has to “prove his innocence.”​

The attacks on ​[him] ultimately stem from a loathing of the Church and its moral teachings amongst the left-leaning Victorian political establishment. At the moment it is in government, noisily campaigning for euthanasia and transgender rights and quietly gloating over the possibility of destroying Australia’s best-known Catholic.

It has been Pell’s misfortune to be a good man, an effective manager and a loyal priest. In today’s world that is a dangerous combination. Ensuring that he gets a fair trial will be the ultimate test of the fairness of Australia’s courts​.

​We may hope they are up to the task.​

Bishop Gerhard Müller denies the perpetual virginity of Our Lady

​It’s not easy being a theologian, lesson # 3,053 (?), twisting and turning, giving self a spiritual hernia:

​With Mary as model, Christian spirituality recognizes in every birth, accepted by a woman in faith, an experience of the salvation that has come in the end time.

​He’s a man dreadfully unemployed, to have time for this sort of thing. Squaring circles.​

BREAKING: Pope removes conservative Vatican doctrine chief

​You’d think you were reading about changes in city hall, the mayor solidifying his hold on how things happen.​

The story broke last week in the Spanish-language newspaper Clarin, and was reported today by the Rome-based Corrispondenza Romana.

Clarin suggested Muller would be replaced by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, known as a yes-man in Church circles. Other candidates include Vienna Cardinal Chistoph Schonborn and Archbishop Victor Fernandez, a close collaborator of Pope Francis.

​Looking ahead to the next election?

Chi Trib front page clashing stories: two kinds of weeper . . .

The one on top weeps about diminished social services (always a grabber):

Senate health care bill takes a hit
CBO analysis: Uninsured would grow by 22 million,
costs would rise under Republican leaders’ proposal

The one on bottom weeps, sort of, about the cost of red ink for Chicago Public Schools (not much of a grabber):

Price for CPS loans: $70,000 a day in interest
Total cost could pass
$7M based on payback
date, financial woe

Make-up editors could have put them side by side as horns of the dilemma faced by lawmakers as regards public spending: 1) people want services, 2) government hasn’t got the money.

As for not having the money, move to the state’s (and city’s) fiscal crisis and see what Speaker Madigan and his Dems do not want in a budget and the governor does:

Democrats have resisted Rauner’s calls for mixing into budget discussions other issues including cost-saving changes to workers’ compensation, state-employee pension-benefit programs, and a local property tax freeze, among other things.

No, no, no, don’t touch our workers’ comp, state employees’ benefits, and property taxes, say Dems, clutching these items as dear to their hearts.

Later: As for “mixing into budget discussions other issues,” consider Madigan’s “non-budget demands,” as in the State Journal-Register,

including that Gov. Bruce Rauner sign a school funding reform bill that the governor has said he would veto.

Crafty fellow. Oh, and a Democrat.

Ah, the perils of a glowing account. Sun-Times reports judge retires to acclaim — without mention of past bad ratings

​Cook County Judge Evelyn Clay set to retire this summer:

“You could not ask for a more fair, even-tempered judge,” said attorney Jim McKay, who as an assistant state’s attorney led the prosecution at [Andre] Crawford’s 2009 trial [at which he was convicted]. “I’m sorry to hear she’s going.”

Known for her generally reserved temperament on the bench, Clay earlier this month . . .

​It was not always so, as in this 2009 urging by NBC Chicago to “throw the judges out”:​

Evelyn B. Clay [per Chicago Bar Assn.].

“Concerns were raised about Judge Clay’s knowledge of the law and poor judgment in making insensitive comments from the bench.”

The Chicago Council of Lawyers also found Clay unqualified. “[She] sometimes exhibits indecision on the bench and inconsistencies in her rulings.”​

​The perils of being a nice guy — at readers’ expense.​

Vatican’s Auditor General Resigns. Pope loses a fight.

The job — overseeing Vatican departments — was a new one. He resigned “unexpectedly” after two years, giving no reason, had said three months ago he was “enthusiastic” about the assignment.

The background of​ [Libero] Milone’s
resignation is the fight between Cardinal George Pell’s Secretariat for the Economy and Cardinal Domenico Calcagno’s APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, ​​
the most resistant to introducing greater financial scrutiny
. Milone belonged to the Pell-group​.​

​​And the Pope?

Pope Francis first wanted Pell’s Secretariat to replace APSA, ​​
but then gradually rowed back
. Milone’s resignation is ​​
another exampl
e of a pope ​​
who promised reform
, but is delivering ​​
more of the same

He can’t clean his own house? Ineffective where he has most influence? Or prophet without honor in his own country?

Later, the Vatican responds:

(Vatican Radio) The Press Office of the Holy See released a statement in connection with the statements from the Vatican’s former Auditor General, Libero Milone, which were widely quoted today, saying the Holy See notes “with surprise and regret” the remarks made by the former Auditor General.

Milone told reporters from several news organizations that he had been forced to resign after discovering unspecified “irregularities” within his bailiwick – or face criminal charges he told reporters were fabricated.

The Statement from the Holy See’s Press Office goes on to say, “In [acting] this way, [Milone] has failed to agree to keep confidential the reasons for his resignation from the Office. It is recalled that, according to the Statutes, the Auditor General’s task is to analyze the budgets and accounts of the Holy See and the related administrations. Unfortunately, the Office headed by Dr. Milone, exceeding its powers, illegally commissioned an external concern to conduct investigative activities into the private lives of Holy See Personnel.” [Italics added]

The Statement also says, “In addition to constituting a crime, this [course of action] irretrievably crippled the trust placed in Dr. Milone, who, faced with his responsibilities, freely agreed to resign.”

Note the illegality, hiring the “external concern” etc. Did the world wrongly think that his appointment signaled an opening to the outside world? Hard to swallow, that.

Court drops charges against pro-life investigators who exposed Planned Parenthood | News | LifeSite

14 charges dropped.​

The only retained charge is that Merritt conspired to invade privacy. However, no undercover investigative journalist has ever been so charged. The law applies to private conversations, and the CMP videos were taken in a public venue. Also, ​[California Attorney General

​ ​

Xavier] ​
Becerra prosecuted Merritt without allowing her to constitutionally face her accusers, and Becerra did not give proper legal notice so Merritt could mount a defense.

“Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong," Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver explained. "The complaint by the California attorney general is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public.”​ [Italics added]​