Pell’s vestments: The prosecution’s impossible claim

In his analysis of George Pell’s conviction and sentencing, Quadrant contributor Peter Wales describes the many layers of vestments the then-archbishop was wearing at the time prosecutors assert he molested two 13-year-old choiristers. That section of his essay is reproduced below, a video of a bishop being prepared for Mass in similar sacred garments above:

It was not disputed that he was wearing his eucharistic vestments. For a pontifical high Mass, celebrated by an Archbishop at the main Mass on Sunday in his own cathedral, these customarily consist of a close fitting cassock with thirty-nine buttons from top to bottom, a cincture – a wide band around the waist of the cassock, an alb, a long white robe tied with a rope or cord (both cassock and alb are full-length garments, reaching from neck to floor), and over these a dalmatic and a chasuble, both heavy brocade garments reaching to the knees.

Evidence given by the prosecution’s single witness was that these garments were pushed aside. They cannot be pushed aside. It is just possible that they could be lifted enough to give access to everyday clothes underneath, and that these could then be opened, but the cassock, alb, dalmatic and chasuble would need to be held with one hand the entire time. It would tight and uncomfortable, and movement would be almost impossible. This would still be the case even if Pell were wearing only an alb, stole and chasuble over his street clothes, as some parish clergy do.

The prosecutions’ case is that having taken a few minutes to lift these tight, heavy garments and open his normal clothes underneath, the Archbishop, with very limited movement and one free hand, chased the two boys around the sacristy, unnoticed by the large number of people moving between that room and the sanctuary, forcing each of the boys to give him oral sex.

13 thoughts on “Pell’s vestments: The prosecution’s impossible claim

  • lloveday says:

    Thanks for the link. I forwarded it to a good friend, a regular church-going Protestant who previously emailed me thus:
    There is no stauncher critic and opponent of Rome than I, but this is a stitch up.
    How on ******* earth did he get all of that episcopal vestment **** up so he could Free Willie? A lie from beginning to end.

  • Salome says:

    That video is old rite. Vestments are a tad more streamlined in the new rite (no gloves, for example), but the principle is the same, and even a trip to the loo dressed like that is a major logistical exercise and not to be recommended. Remember also that the boys were themselves in long choir robes.

  • en passant says:

    As a devout atheist, I wish I had been selected for Jury Duty. Pell would have received what he deserved – a Not Guilty verdict and exonerated with honour.
    I am sure the All-Powerful will take a hand now and reverse this travesty.

  • Jody says:

    Leave it alone and let the courts do their work if there is to be an appeal. You are precipitously endangering your own credibility in labouring these points.

  • en passant says:

    How long did it take the Courts to come to the RIGHT answer on Lindy Chamberlain? Pell will have served his sentence and more before justice is done. Where is the justice when lawyers get rich and the innocent are condemned?

  • Peter Smith says:

    I disagree with Jody on this. The conviction was so evidently unsound that the more people in all walks of life and in all forums speak up the better. George Pell is in jail. He should be freed forthwith in my view pending his appeal. FGP.

  • deric davidson says:

    Recently two falsely accused Catholic clergy have been exonerated and their sentences revoked after appeal. This says that the justice system can get it very wrong particularly in an environment of fierce anti-Catholicism. Pell is part of the collateral damage as the secularists and Marxists attempt to impose maximize damage on the Catholic Church with a wide and relentless sweep of ‘accusations’. Getting a fair trial for Pell was virtually zero in this sort of atmosphere.

  • PT says:

    Jody, none but Pell (and the accuser assuming it isn’t a false memory or mistaken identity – which would be unlikely IMHO) can say whether he is guilty or not. All we CAN say with certainty is that a jury did convict him. However it is not normal to convict someone who maintains their innocence solely upon the say so of a single person.

    A certain very senior member of Federal Parliament has been accused by a woman of raping her, in roughly the same time too, and in the same state. Yet no prosecution was ever mounted against him, I’m not even sure if a major police investigation was undertaken. I’m not sure why her verbal evidence would be less reliable than Pell’s accuser. We certainly didn’t have any 4 Corners exposé of her claims.

    Plus if the prosecution case really was as stated in this article, that the offences occurred between the start of the exit procession and when it reached the west door, I find them difficult to credit. All 3 had “nicked off”; the boys started drinking the unattended altar wine; Pell finds them; groups them; forces them both to undertake oral sex and then sodomises one of them. Then straightens up his robes and vestments, which can’t be “pushed aside” as claimed but taken off or at least hitched up, and goes off to join his place in the procession, whilst the choir boys then do the same. And all in the couple of minutes it would have taken the procession to move to the door.

    I really, really hope that this misrepresents the prosecution case against Pell. Because if it is, it is so unlikely it should never have gone to trial, much less secured a conviction. This tale reminds me of a recent case in London. A male commuter was charged with sexual assault. His “victim” (a woman, academic in her mid-’50’s) claimed he ran into her, pushed his hand up her dress, fondled her inner thighs, and otherwise grouped her in a violent and intrusive way. He went to trial on this. The trouble was that it took place in a tube station, and it was on CCTV and recorded. When found, it turned out he was running to get to work, and accidentally collided with her (or rather side on with her), pulled himself back, and then continued on. In the footage you could see her turning around and staring after him. BUT they’d been in contact for half a second, hardly long enough for the assault as she described it to have occurred. He was also carrying a bag (and I think a newspaper) and his arms clearly didn’t flex to perform the action she alleged. Now the police had seen the footage, they actually used it to identify the man (taking the timestamp and matching it to his oyster card), so they should have known her story couldn’t be true. The crown prosecutors (apparently dominated by feminists for that sort of crime at the time) likewise should have realised there was no case to answer. Yet it went to trial anyway! Why? Well some speculated that the police were embarrassed that they hadn’t properly investigated allegations against Jimmy Saville, and were “overcompensating”. And with the feminist prosecutors, this led to a notion that you always “believe” the “victim”, and in this case they could identify the “assailant”, nevermind that the means used to identify him also showed that offence could not have happened.

  • PT says:

    I’m also not really sure what you mean by that youtube video. That there are negative things said about Australia? Well I heard a few negative comments about us said from some US audiences who saw Evil Angels (the film did take some liberties, but wasn’t too far from how things were). Plenty of negative things were said about Britain in the wake of the Guildford 4, and the Birmingham 6. In the case of the latter two, truly horrendous crimes had been committed, they weren’t simply allegations.

    What are we supposed to do? Not say anything if we feel an injustice has been done in case someone overseas will hear and say nasty things about us? Or are you referring to the unhinged and ignorant comments that some made?

    Pell is appealing the decision. But that won’t be heard for months, and when it is, it will be a panel of judges, not a jury, that can be argued to have been “influenced” by articles such as this that will decide. But as I said above, if this really does represent the prosecution case, then it is our legal system, not the authors, whose credibility is seriously endangered, and certainly that of the Victoria Police and public prosecution in taking such a case to trial.

  • Les Kovari says:

    I go with Peter Smith. The damage to Pell’s character has been done. He is now in jail, traditionally reserved for people with no more dignity left, or never had. I can put myself in his place and imagine the feeling of degradation. That can never be undone even if his appeal is successful.

  • PT says:

    I agree Les. Further, if the conviction is overturned you’ll still get the same crowd going on about how a jury convicted him (hint hint, he wriggled off the hook due to a legal technicality, but is really guilty).

  • Jody says:

    PT: There’s a world of difference between a scum-bag politician like the one you allude to and a senior member of the Catholic Church. I cannot make the claim that Pell was unfairly convicted with any safety at all. What can influence the human mind, when and why? It’s unknowable. But to assume Pell is innocent is not safe at this point in time.

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