The unfair, anti-Catholic conviction of Cardinal George Pell

“To Kill a Mockingbird” revisited.

No one with a sense of justice can fail to be outraged when, in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a jury in Maycomb, Ala., bows to social pressure and convicts an innocent man of a crime he couldn’t have committed.

Something similar took place last month in real-world Melbourne, Australia, where Cardinal George Pell was falsely and perversely convicted on charges of “historic sexual abuse” dating to the 1990s.

First jury hung. He was acquitted on 10-2 vote based on evidence he couldn’t have done it.

In the retrial, the defense again demonstrated that it was physically impossible for the alleged abuse of two choirboys (one now deceased) to have occurred, given the layout and security ­arrangements of Melbourne’s Catholic cathedral and the fact that the choir and Pell were in two different places when the abuse was alleged to have occurred.

Pell, moreover, was always surrounded by others at the cathedral that day in 1996. Why the Melbourne police never took the trouble to investigate these exculpatory facts is one of several mysteries in this sordid ­affair.

Second jury ignored this evidence?

The retrial jury took days to reach a verdict, during which the jurors asked the trial judge for ­instructions on how evidence should be considered. That an overwhelming vote for acquittal at the first trial was then flipped to a unanimous verdict for conviction invites the inference that the jury chose to ignore evidence that the alleged crimes couldn’t have happened.

Problem:

How can charges be brought when the public authorities could have easily determined that the ­alleged abuse couldn’t have happened, because the victims and the alleged perpetrator were never in close proximity, much less by themselves without witnesses?

“Mockingbird” comparison:

Any judgment on the Pell verdict must also take full account of the atmosphere in which the cardinal’s case was heard. Anti-Catholicism has been a staple of Australia’s culture for decades. Local media long misrepresented Pell, a Church ­reformer, as a power-hungry ecclesiastical politician, and that caricature made him a convenient scapegoat for the grave crimes of other priests and bishops.

But . . .

[A]s archbishop of Melbourne, Pell set up Australia’s first process for investigating and compensating claims of clerical sexual abuse. And as archbishop of Sydney, he applied strict protocols to himself, stepping aside until previous spurious abuse charges against him were thoroughly investigated — and dismissed — by a former Australian supreme court justice.

Pell couldn’t win for losing.

Aggressive secularists couldn’t forgive him for his robust Catholicism. Most Catholic progressives couldn’t abide his orthodoxy. Some of Pell’s enemies had the ­integrity to dismiss the charges against him as ludicrous, and a few said afterward that his conviction was a travesty. But the foul ­atmosphere in Melbourne was reminiscent of rural Alabama in the 1930s.

Something else there was. Follow the money.

One other facet of this miscarriage of justice deserves investigation by enterprising reporters. Pell was brought to Rome by Pope Francis to clean up Vatican ­finance, a Herculean task in which he was making progress. Then, just as he was getting down to the ­really serious corruption, which involves hundreds of millions of euros and the shadow worlds of global ­finance, these abuse charges were laid, and Pell had to return to Australia to defend himself.

Oh?

Was that timing sheer accident? Rome-based supporters of Pell’s ­reforming efforts with whom I’ve spoken think not. Just as in Harper Lee’s Maycomb, something is rotten in this business. And it isn’t the character of Cardinal George Pell.

No.

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Comments

  • Dee  On 01/12/2019 at 6:18 PM

    It’s so Kafka-esq it’s heart-breaking. I pray for him daily. How the mob hates a giant of truth.

    Like

    • Jim Bowman  On 01/12/2019 at 7:17 PM

      Another thing. With him upsetting the thieves in the Vatican, I bet the Papa is not completely dashed by all of it.

      Like

  • Richard Mullins  On 05/05/2019 at 8:52 PM

    I have not seen a shred of believable evidence. The court evidence of the accuser is sealed. It is said that the accuser kept a diary. This would be dynamite evidence, whether it be from 1996-1997, or more likely i think, from 2015. I am guessing that the accuser was a junkie who was trained to have false memories.
    Richard Mullins portal1943@gmail.com

    Like

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