QED

Pro-Pell and Pulped as a Consequence

Late last week, as today’s sentencing of George Pell drew near, the Hobart’s Catholic Standard was being to delivered to parishes across the diocese when an extraordinary order was given to withdraw and pulp the edition. The reason was a short column by David Daintree, director of the Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies, that not only defended the cardinal but decried the “wickedness” of the many improbable accusations piled upon him.

Prof. Daintree accepted the decision in silence and has since declined to comment, leaving Catholic Standard readers and others to wonder just what might have a prompted such an extraordinary action. A Quadrant Online reader who obtained one of the few copies to escape the shredder transcribed the column and sent it along to us. It is reproduced below:

I have recently read and reviewed two very books, Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option and Greg Sheridan’s God is Good for You.  They diverge in their conclusions:  Dreher believes that Christianity in western countries faces far more testing times to come, including active persecution;  Sheridan is more optimistic about the future, trusting that there is among our politicians a strong residual Christian faith that will see us through difficult times.  I think that Sheridan’s kind heart is too optimistic, that his confidence in the political system is misplaced, but being weak I also hope that Dreher’s depressing forecast never eventuates.  Let that cup pass from us!

What both writers agree on, though, is the sadly evident truth that the Faith is losing its hold on the young, that fewer and fewer young people retain any active connection with the Church.  We are bleeding badly.  That alone is an awful challenge.

Could Dreher be right?  Is it even worse than that?

The embargo on the Pell case has been lifted and we now know that he has been found guilty as charged and will be sentenced.

I know Cardinal Pell well, I like him and respect him. I simply cannot believe that he is guilty.

He is not the first innocent man to be found guilty by a jury, nor will he be the last, but my confidence in the jury system has been weakened.

There are some similarities with the Lindy Chamberlain case of forty years ago: the judge summed up for an acquittal, but the jury had taken against her, almost certainly because they disliked her for her faith and the calm acceptance it engendered in her, so she went to jail. She was eventually exonerated, but there are still those who hold that she was guilty despite the total discrediting of the evidence that brought her to trial.

Likewise there are those who believe that Pell should be punished anyway, for being what he is, and that the truth or otherwise of the particular charge on which he has been convicted is irrelevant.  Such views are repellent, for they subvert or ignore the principles on which our Law is based, but they are commonly expressed in tweets and similar unthinking outbursts.

Pell is a tough man and he will, by the Grace of God, survive the wickedness of his accusers and the silence of many who should defend him but won’t. Those who believe in prayer should pray for him, and for his alleged victim too, and for those who voted to condemn him.

26 comments
  • T B LYNCH

    Magna Carta [which I have used successfully] provides that no one should be put on trial [let alone convicted] based solely on the unsupported word of a Royal Official [let alone a commoner].
    Brett Walker please copy.

  • Andrew Campbell

    Cardinal Francis George famously said, referencing the rise of aggressive secularism: ‘“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history”

  • ianl

    The Chamberlain case has been quoted a few times, including here at QoL, as an example of a jury getting it wrong.

    Certainly the Chamberlains attracted a deal of hysterical dislike and bigoted religiosity. In short, the hysteria spun completely out of control, buttressed, fanned and encouraged by the despicable meeja.

    The critical piece of sworn “evidence” – the bit that turned it for me, despite the improbability of ritual infanticide – came from the NT pathologist, one Joyce Kuhl, as I recall. Her pathology report stated categorically that staining found on the dashboard of the Chamberlains’ car was foetal blood. Slam dunk, it seemed, since lab testing is objective and impartial. Yes, I had been naive.

    Later re-testing of the stains by an experienced professorial forensic pathologist, a professor not connected in any way to the NT administration, demonstrated that these stains were actually from common rust remover, available at all good SuperAuto stores.

    The Chamberlain case has no commonality with the Pell case. Despite assertions in some of the above comments, I prefer to wait for the release of the *full* Pell trial transcript, although I do wonder if such a release will occur and whether it will have sections censored from it. If the latter, we will never know.

  • Jody

    Of course supporters of Pell have been “pulped”. Imagine supporting a convicted pedophile. Unless you were in the court that day – every day – and in the jury deliberations you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • IainC

    Michael Jackson was tried in 2005 by a jury of his peers, declared to be innocent of the charges of child molestation and acquitted. Meanwhile, in 2019……

  • pgang

    Jody… ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about’. Well in that case nobody ever knows what they’re talking about because we almost never directly experience anything, and even when we do we usually distort the reality. The human mind was designed to operate by induction and analogy.
    You should try a little more self examination and a little less condemnation.

  • Homer Sapien

    The reality is, we don’t know the reality.

  • lloveday

    I don’t understand why Cardinal Pell filled in the paperwork for the “sex offenders’ registery” [sic – The Australian does not use a spell-checker it seems]. I would not no matter the consequence.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Jody, I don’t think criticism of the entirety of the Pell case can fairly be attributed solely to “supporters of Pell”. One of my Catholic friends absolutely detests the man and, like you, has serious questions about the Catholic Church’s apparent condonation of the abusive behaviour of some clergy. She is by no means a supporter. Nor am I who have not voluntarily darkened the door of a Catholic Church since Vatican II.

    Our criticism concerns the well-documented disgraceful behaviour of the Victorian Police, the ABC, the MUP and sections of the media that can only be described as a witch-hunt. You don’t need to be a Pell supporter to recognise and complain about that.

    If the “bigotocracy” can bring down a powerful individual like Pell by such tactics, what hope is there for the rest of us with our justice system so effectively undermined?

  • lloveday

    Peter Westmore attended both trials and the sentencing hearing and is giving an online 30 minute presentation tonight at 8pm, followed by a 30 minute Q&A. I will respect what he says – he will know what he is talking about.

  • Jody

    pgang: I’ve not been supporting Pell and definitely not the one who needs self-examination. Stop with the projections.

  • Jody

    Doubting Thomas: I know all about injustice; my son is a victim of the Australian Family Court system. But Cardinal Pell has been convicted in a court of law, determined by a unanimous jury and certainly not worthy of people supporting him. If the trial and conviction are overturned we’ll talk then. In the meantime, he’s going down. All the rest is background noise; there are victims here and people seem to have lost sight of that.

  • deric davidson

    There was no forensic or corroborative evidence presented by the prosecution. Pell was virtually acquitted after the first trial – 10 to 2. At this trial the accuser faced the jury live. At the second trial the accuser did not face the jury live. Only a recording of his words was used. Why? Furthermore there was no attempt by the police to re-create the circumstances at the cathedral. Why? There are numerous implausible events associated with this case. Everything I have read and heard negates the phrase ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
    Pell is the victim of years of ‘searching’ for reasons to bring him down. Pell apparently has had to prove his innocence rather than the prosecution prove, beyond reasonable doubt, his guilt. This case has been contrived to produce the required outcome.

  • Geoffrey Luck

    Jody: You don’t have misgivings (if not suspicions) about a happily married family man being brought out of the woodwork thirty years later to depose about improbable events, conveniently after the one relevant witness has died, and under protection of anonymity, alleging vile offences against the tallest tree that will permeate the entire forest with the woodworm of hatred?

  • Mike O’Ceirin

    If it is true that this conviction is on the statements of one individual without corroborating evidence then be afraid. We are all at risk of such accusations and may given the right circumstances all go to jail. What if the judge or any of the jurors were so accused? The damage to the legal system itself is incalculable.

  • deric davidson

    Geoff, keep in mind the other boy who sadly has passed away claimed he was not abused. Yet he is considered part of Pell’s criminal abuse and part of the (non-)evidence against Pell. This is ridiculous.

  • lloveday

    deric davidson,

    From the Australia: “The father of Pell’s deceased abuse victim said he was expecting Pell to be sentenced to up to 20 years. “He [Pell] got six and really? My son’s got a lifetime sentence. He’s dead,” he said”.

    So he believes his son’s fellow choirboy to be a truthful person and believes his own son to be a liar.

    “He’s dead” – from a heroin overdose, and that’s Pell’s fault? That’s proof that he lied to his mother when he denied being abused? A cop-out society is what Australia is generally becoming; all the bad things one does are blamed on the actions or inactions of others.

  • lloveday

    “..my son is a victim of the Australian Family Court system”.

    I hope the man persisted to trial; I have no sympathy for someone claiming injustice after signing mutual agreed orders, as I have heard far too often.

    The barrister I hired and directed to conduct the custody trial (after the first 2 preliminary hearing I sacked the lawyer and represented myself in front of 9 different judicial officers in sometimes farcical, sometimes unjust further hearings and in the property trial), said that custody decisions went 50-50 at trial, which is an indication at least that trials are fairly fair. When we walked out of court after the 7-day custody trial, he punched me on the shoulder and said “we won”. After the property trial her Legal Aid parasite said “we lost big-time”. In my opinion, in both cases there was no winner, just justice done, but there is zero, zilch, chance that it would have been without going to trial.

    Pell will persist; I pray that he does not die before the Appeal Trial and that justice will be done there as it was in my case.

    On memory, I have very good recall, so I’m told, and thought, yet I recently re-read some of the transcripts and I’d have sworn on the Bible to something having been said that the transcript proves not to have been.

  • PT

    Jody, I would remind you that the Jury did not see the accuser in person, only a recording from the failed first trial! But all other witnesses had to give evidence a second time. I can understand special consideration being given to children, but the alleged victim isn’t a child anymore.

    I also note that the Victoria police refused to prosecute Bill Shorten (did they investigate?) when he was accused of rape at a similar time as the Pell offences. So I have to wonder if there’s a political bias in such cases.

    Regarding Pell. All we can say is that a jury convicted him. I wonder if we had Scots law, rather than English law, if the result would have been “not proven”. If acquitted he can’t be retried (all the more reason why the prosecution should be pretty sure they’ve got solid case. Gillard wasn’t prosecuted despite the RC believing certain allegations against her were credible, for that reason.

  • deric davidson

    Another ridiculous comment made in court was that Pell was ‘stoic’ and ‘unemotional’ and this proves his guilt because he showed little ‘compassion’ and ‘contrition’ in pleading his innocence! What sort of nonsense is that? It is like the accusations made against Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic College in the US when he was accused of ‘aggressive behaviour’ towards a drum beating native American by standing his ground (basically staying where he was) and smiling. We are living in a weird and somewhat disturbing world these days.

  • lloveday

    PT,
    Larry Pickering, RIP, had faults but was a four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, and I found his interviews of Kathy compelling, certainly more so than what we have been allowed to know of X’s evidence in the Pell case.
    Published in 2 parts at: pickeringpost.com/story/-i-was-raped-by-bill-shorten-kathy/3798

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    “I know all about injustice; my son is a victim of the Australian Family Court system. But Cardinal Pell has been convicted in a court of law, determined by a unanimous jury and certainly not worthy of people supporting him.”

    Jody: Firstly, your statement “I know all about injustice”- is a broad generalisation. You are not omniscient regarding the topic of injustice.
    Secondly, how does your statement “my son is a victim of the Australian Family Court system” relate logically to your following statement: ” But Cardinal Pell has been convicted in a court of law, determined by a unanimous jury and certainly not worthy of people supporting him.”?

  • lloveday

    If the appeal is upheld, will the ABC host a similar article to this?
    .
    abc.net.au/news/2015-06-08/child-sexual-abuse-outrageous-imprisonment-must-be-investigated/6528122
    .
    Here’s the Judges’ decision and reasons:
    .
    austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2012/306.html

  • lloveday

    Peter Westmore, who attended both trials, said there was an extra witness at the second trial, a lawyer who testified that he and his mother met and chatted with Cardinal Pell on the front steps of the cathedral on one of the two possible dates for the alleged offences to have occurred, adding credence to the argument that Cardinal Pell would have stopped to chat with parishioners on both the possible dates.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    ‘Many dogs surround me…’

    After the news of the jury decision on Cardinal George Pell I showed up at mass on the Sunday expecting diminished congregation and gnashing of teeth.
    To my surprise the mass was reverential and respectful.
    Then , on reflection, I noticed something about our congregation.
    They were from China, South East Asia, distant parts of the Near East, the victims of war and tyrannical Christian persecution.
    So, situation normal.
    Just morphed into a new phase.
    The feedback from the streets was the same. A fruitful resource.
    Here was the opportunity of canvassing the opinions of those close to the coal face of victimisation and abuse.
    One such, an expert witness to the Royal Commission in NSW that blew the lid off the paedophile rings
    around ’96,was quite clear about George Pell.
    He’s not one of them.

    So where is this going?
    One could satirise it as ‘The ten impossible things to believe in before breakfast’
    One could patiently wait and see where lawyer X is going.
    Is this another ’96 er?
    One could hope and pray that there be a retrial,another he says/he says.
    Will George Pell confess?
    This is the bit that puzzles me. I’ve watched him with the marginalised and at the Sydney
    Opera House discussing his ‘Dangerous Ideas’.
    Its not that he’s naive or waffling on about the rights of the poor.
    He actually walks the walk.
    Now in the context of a trial, an honest paedophile who is a priest ,in most instances, fesses up and falls on his sword.
    For the Christian that’s the smart option.
    For it is written
    Matthew 18:6 King James Version (KJV)
    6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    But then there is the flip side.

    Luke 6:22 (NKJV) Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake.
    So where innocent a good defence is actually mandated.

    From a dispassionate place one of them is lying or deluded.
    But Pell sticks to his guns.
    He’s not into delusion.

    He has another hurdle.
    ‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’
    Now when asked about the concept of ‘Soul’ by a sceptical ticket holder at the Sydney Opera House, he made it clear he believed in the existence of the soul and that it was a metaphysical argument outside the scope of the present discussion.

    My POV is that he is walking this walk.
    That of a pilgrim.

    Only having observed him with the marginalised, there is still a possibility to unerringly glean his personality.
    This is achieved by doing exit interviews and looking at what he considers to be qualities in others.
    If you have read so far I will spare you the exit interview.
    His published view of Chris Riley is in part
    ‘He does a power of good. He’s a great Catholic worker. he’s a bit shy of authority, but he gets things done……..His work is enormously important.he’s got a heart full of compassion, but he is tough and unsentimental, which you need to be in his line of work’.
    ‘Tough and unsentimental, gets things done’
    Not good before a Victorian Jury.

    Personally I have had the misfortune to be dragged into two ‘show trials’.
    One concerned centrelink the other animal welfare.
    In both much was learned by the prosecution and things settled down afterwards.
    So good actually came from them.
    In one, my client died of stress and cardiac disease between hearings.
    For this reason I find show trials essentially shameful, a blot on the body politic.
    For this reason Cardinal George Pell need’s to know that his health is worthy of the effort.

    Catholics now have probably woken that we are becoming an endangered species.
    Increasingly we are being marginalised, much as happened in England and today in many parts of the
    world, giving us diaspora congregations.
    Those countries are now the poorer.
    This cleansing of the church of paedophiles has given us a new life.
    We await the decision of the court.

  • canhippi

    Jody

    I do not accept the way you are disparaging of our court systems.

    That’s what the wreckers if our Western Democracies do.

    I’ll defend our traditionS.

    The family law system in my experience is just and I believe in most cases outcomes are fair.

    In my case I gained custody of my two children, under 8, retained the family home and paid out to my former wife almost half of our combined wife.

    That on the evidence was just and fair.

    I had the brief ‘scprepared by a solicitor and then represented myself in the hearings.

    So, to be fair dinkum, rather than make assertions about the alleged dysfunction within, our family law courts, what a reasoned thing to do would be to present to us all the evidence presented to the court, that resulted in the alleged biased decisions of the court, if it went to trial. Then we would be able to sssess the case of your son.
    To do otherwise, as you have done here .. well I’ll quote you,

    ‘Unless you were in the court that day – everyday – and in the Jury ( insert had knowledge of the Judges’ ) deliberations then you don’t know what you are talking about.’

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