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July 11th 2017 print

Michael Warren Davis

…Then They Came for the Cardinals

The pursuit of George Pell by leak, smear and ABC-style journalism has crystalised in charges and a court appearance set for later this month. It was a shocking process to watch, but not unprecedented. When the Left sets out to destroy an enemy no quarter is given

severed head IIAs a Catholic, the persecution of George Cardinal Pell is (to say the least) disturbing. Gerard Henderson has made a convincing case that the media’s well-known anti-Roman bias has influenced the Royal Commission’s proceedings. The Church has been subjected to far more scrutiny than any other denomination. That’s not wrong from a justice standpoint, but the implication – that abuse is more common among Catholics than Protestants – is factually wrong. It serves no purpose except to perpetuate ridiculous stereotypes about “paedo-priests”.

Worse, it could mean that Catholicism itself has come under fire. As Henderson says:

Justice McClellan and his colleagues believe that the Royal Commission is entitled to look into such teachings and practices with respect to the Catholic Church as canon law, clericalism, celibacy, the confessional, psycho-sexual development, seminary training, the Vatican, church history and lay leadership.

And yet,

… child sexual abuse, person to person, was probably greater in the Uniting Church – an institution which has married clergy, no compulsory celibacy, no sacrament of confession, female ministers and in recent times has supported same-sex marriage.

Secularists have always resented that the Seal of the Confessional is protected by law. They’re desperate for a pretense to revoke that privilege. The Royal Commission is giving them one, even though there’s no reason to believe it would reduce the instances of abuse. That should disturb anyone – Catholic, Protestant, atheist, whatever – who values freedom of religion.

Almost more disturbing, though, is the treatment of Cardinal Pell. Let’s be clear: he’s guilty, as he’s admitted, of not being aware of the abuses by priests under his charge. That’s a serious ministerial lapse – one that Church authorities should consider carefully. Yet, somehow, I doubt the anti-Pell crowd is up in arms because he’s an inadequate prelate. One suspects they’re not concerned about a marked aloofness in the Catholic hierarchy. Indeed, as Yost points out, Archbishop Frank Little – Pell’s superior when the abuses took place – is known to have actively covered up abuses. Is it worth noting that Little was a progressive, and Pell’s a conservative? Julia Yost makes that transpaently clear in First Things critique of ABC operative Louis Milligan’s recent hatchet job.

The whole thing’s giving me flashbacks of the Barry Spurr saga, which I wrote about in these pages in 2014. What struck me most about the anti-Spurr student protests wasn’t the nature of their grievance (“flimsy” would be an understatement), but the sheer glee they took in assassinating his character and destroying his career. As I wrote:

There’s an inescapable sadism in the behaviour of the university’s far Left. We’re watching an old-fashioned bear-baiting: they’ll make the grizzly seem nasty, until you see the rope around his neck and the pack of dogs closing in around him.

The sweet, intoxicating, self-righteous hatred was already fermenting in their hearts. It just needed an object. So they descended on that white, middle-aged Eliot scholar like seagulls on a rubbish barge and stuffed themselves sick.

The same is true of Pell. You can tell his persecutors want him to be guilty of protecting rapist priests. (If he himself did a bit of raping, so much the better.) They want all their darkest fantasies about conservative Catholics to be true. They already hated Pell for his orthodox beliefs; but if he’s a paedophile or paedophile-enabler, they can hate him openly without drawing accusations of intolerance. It’s like manna from heaven!

I was stunned by the cowardly non-response by conservatives to the Spurr affair. No one wanted to defend him, or at least point out that his treatment was grossly unwarranted. No one wanted to be implicated in his sins against political correctness. And Pell’s ordeal is but the next wrung on the ladder. If we don’t start standing up for the victims of this progressive inquisition, there’s no telling who will be next.

First they came for the academics, and I did not speak out because I was not an academic. Then they came for the cardinals…

Comments [9]

  1. Warty says:

    The very fact that the Uniting Church is comparatively ‘progressive’ enables it to escape the ire directed to the Catholic Church and Cardinal Pell in particular. An increasingly atheistic public wouldn’t have the faintest idea of how the confessional works, and I say this as a Protestant, albeit a rather dubious high church variety.
    So much of what you say is right, and one would like to say that it was not personal on the part of those determined to bring George Pell down, other than the evidence of the blood lust that obviates that.
    I see no Protestant Catholic divide in the inequitable treatment of the Uniting Church vis a vis the Catholic: at this stage it is more that the conservatives are being required to walk the plank first, and the progressive clergy will meet their comeuppance at a time of the Levellers choosing.

    • Salome says:

      Not the first time I’ve agreed with you, Warty. Spot on! We don’t have to get sectarian about this–it’s not a ‘Catholic’ thing, but an ‘orthodox’ (small ‘o’) thing, and ever since the Methodists, some of the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists buried their theological differences (and their theology) and became a left wing social movement called the Uniting Church, they largely ceased to be a target (except at their posh schools, of course).

      • Warty says:

        I had a particular axe to grind with the World Council of Churches, and their head, Karl Marx, in that they directly funded the political organisations ZANU and ZAPU (and indirectly their military arms Zanla and Zipra) during the ‘civil’ war in what was Rhodesia. They either ignored or were simply uninformed about the atrocities inflicted, particularly on rural Africans, in order to so intimidate them they would no longer cooperate with the White government.
        You may have heard of the tactics used by the Vietcong . . . these were identical ie every bit as brutal.
        Nowadays both organisations would be considered terrorist organisations (Zanu and Zapu, not the World Council of Churches, despite the latter sponsoring terrorism).
        Being an ex Rhodesian, I have never forgiven them.

  2. Bill Martin says:

    The pattern of behavior for the baying, blood-lusting mob of progressives was firmly established during the French Revolution, when everything was done “in the name of the people”, resulting in the infamous “Terror”.

  3. en passant says:

    Can’t we just execute him and skip the trial?

  4. whitelaughter says:

    Evidence for the claim that the Uniting church has a more serious problem would be….where? Complaining about trial by media and then throwing an unsupported accusation reeks of hypocrisy.
    And do remember that for the period that is being investigated, the Uniting Church was nearly twice the size of Catholicism – their affair with the trendy set took a while to destroy them.