The malevolent Cardinal Pell has died1. In response to Pell’s demise, the idiotic Tony Abbott said: “Australia has lost a great son and the Church has lost a great leader…. [he] was a committed defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a staunch advocate for the virtues of Western Civilisation (that is code for Christian white supremacy here).” Unbelievably, Abbott also stated “he was a very pastoral priest who well understood the human stain [this is the ‘original sin’ bunkum] and was more than capable of empathising with sinners while still counselling against sin”. It is a shame he did not counsel child-molesting priests against their sin, rather than just shunting them off to another parish, as seemed to be the standard protocol of the Catholic Church when dealing with paedophiles. Even more startlingly, Abbott said that “In his own way, by dealing so equably with a monstrous allegation, he strikes me as a saint for our times”2, appendix. This beggars belief.
Peter Dutton, Leader of the Opposition, simply went through Pell’s career before signing off by blaming Dan Andrews which, these days, seems to be de rigueur for the Liberal Party: “On his passing, the fact he spent a year in prison for a conviction that the High Court of Australia unanimously quashed should provide some cause for reflection for the Victorian Labor Government and its institutions (read Police, DPP and Victorian courts) that led this modern-day political persecution”3, appendix. To call punishment for paedophilia political persecution also beggars belief.
By the early 2000s, numerous reports had started to surface about paedophile priests and even about Pell himself. The man who said Pell abused him didn’t want to go to the police and instead opted for an internal church investigation. Retired Supreme Court judge, Alec Southwell, was appointed to run the investigation. He found both Pell and his accuser believable, but also found the evidence was not of the requisite standard to find that Pell had committed a crime. The Church released the Southwell Report on the Monday after the 2002 Bali bombings so that it would fade quickly, which it did4.
However, the allegations of paedophilia in the priesthood would not go away and eventually led to then Prime Minister Julia Gillard calling the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – a five-year inquiry that found the Catholic Church was significantly overrepresented as an institution in complaints of sexual abuse4.
The Royal Commission found that Pell knew about paedophile priests, including one of Australia’s most prolific sex offenders, Gerald Ridsdale, who was bounced from parish to parish by then Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns, to facilitate his abuse of ever more children. Pell was one of the advisors to the bishop when the latter was making these decisions to move Ridsdale4.
The royal commission found that Pell knew as early as 1973, saying it was “inconceivable” he didn’t know, and saying that the conduct of the advisors in effectively turning a blind eye was “unacceptable”. The commission also found that Pell had some knowledge or ought to have known about Brother Edward Dowlan, Father Peter Searson and Father Nazareno Fasciale. Pell attended Fasciale’s requiem mass when Fasciale died several weeks after being charged by Victoria Police. The commission was satisfied that members of the Melbourne archdiocese’s personnel advisory board, which included George Pell, were told about Fasciale’s abuse of children. Fasciale was allowed to retire on ‘health grounds’4.
Although Pell was convicted by a jury in the choirboy case, and his appeal to the Victorian Court of Appeal failed, the High Court quashed his conviction4.
What is wrong with Conservatives? They seem to be convinced that anything, and I mean anything, that is associated with the political centre or political left is to be castigated as communist, Marxist or even worse, ‘woke’. They also seem to be intent on baiting everyone who is not a conservative, no matter what bastardry they have to appear to support in doing so. In addition, they seem to be antipathetic to anything suggested by anyone with expertise. This was perhaps epitomised by some of the muppets such as Gerard Rennick, Craig Kelly, Tony Abbott, George Christensen and Pauline Hanson in the parliamentary Liberal, LNP or ON parties abusing those with expertise in the face of dealing with climate change or the Covid-19 pandemic as being “unelected experts”5, 6.
This visceral reaction to anything done by anyone they perceive as not of their ilk even extends to supporting Russia in the Ukraine war, seemingly because Ukraine has been supported by the Democrat president of the US, Joe Biden, as well as NATO. Just a couple of days ago, Murdoch hack, Ross Cameron intimated the Ukraine were ‘actual Nazis’, echoing the Putin mantra that Ukraine is governed by Nazis7. This assertion by Cameron is, of course, bovine ordure, and is simply Russian propaganda8. Why would he spout this stuff? What do Cameron or Murdoch gain from it?
I suspect that anyone with a modicum of sense would be less than glowing in their praise of Pell given what the Royal Commission found, just as I expect anyone who had a shred of respect for democracy or peace in the world would not be spouting Russian propaganda, but would be supporting Ukraine in their fight against the invading Russians. I also expect that anyone with any common sense would look to advice from epidemiologists when dealing with a pandemic, and to climate scientists when dealing with climate change. This lack of common sense among conservatives demonstrates their decline into irrationality is continuing and that this will end in irrelevance.
Abbott press release:
Australia has lost a great son and the Church has lost a great leader with the passing of
The Cardinal was a committed defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a staunch advocate
for the virtues of Western Civilisation.
As an ecclesiastical and cultural conservative, he attracted praise and blame from all the
In fact, he was a very pastoral priest who well understood the human stain and was more
than capable of empathising with sinners while still counselling against sin.
His incarceration on charges that the High Court ultimately scathingly dismissed was a
modern form of crucifixion; reputationally at least a kind of living death.
His prison journals should become a classic: a fine man wrestling with a cruel fate and
trying to make sense of the unfairness of suffering.
In the end, like Julian of Norwich, his conclusion in faith was that all would be well and
all manner of things would be well.
In his own way, by dealing so equably with a monstrous allegation, he strikes me as a
saint for our times.
Like everyone who knew him I feel a deep sense of loss but am confident that his
reputation will grow and grow and that he will become an inspiration for the ages.
Peter Dutton press release:
Australia received the news this morning of the passing of Cardinal George Pell DD AC.
The son of a Ballarat publican, the Oxford-educated George Pell was a man of immense
erudition and faith.
Our nation has lost an important intellectual figure and a towering presence in the Catholic
His death will he felt in the Vatican and by Catholics around the world.
In his youth, Pell was a skilled Australian Rules footballer. But it was in his faith, rather than on the footy field, that he found his calling.
George Pell was ordained in 1966. He served as a priest in parishes around Victoria, before becoming the seventh Archbishop of Melbourne and the eighth Archbishop of Sydney.
Dr Pell’s appointment as a Cardinal in 2003 was a good day for Australia and for the Catholic
He brought the World Youth Day and Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney in 2008 – a time of immense joy for young Australian Catholics and Catholic pilgrims from across the world who visited our shores.
His advocacy for Catholic education and a fair go for Catholic and independent schools
particularly when they were under attack in 2004 – has ensured that equitable funding
arrangements are now embedded in Australia’s education policy.
In 2014 Pope Francis appointed Pell as the head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy. No other Australian has risen to a higher position in the Catholic Church.
A fierce defender of the Catholic faith and Christian ideals. Dr Pell made friends – and enemies – along the way
On his passing, the fact he spent a year in prison for a conviction that the High Court of Australia unanimously quashed should provide some cause for reflection for the Victorian Labor Government and its institutions that led this modern-day political persecution.
Pell never lost faith in his God, his country, and in justice – despite the tests and trials he endured in life.
Cardinal George Pell DD AC – requiescat in pace