QED

George Pell and the SJW Fembots

There is a disturbing photo of which those familiar with the travesty of justice meted out to George Pell will be aware. It captures Belinda Wallington, the magistrate who sent the Cardinal to trial in 2018, gazing grimly into the camera with ABC journalist-cum-Harper’s Bazaar fashionista Louise Milligan, author of the damning Cardinal which did so much to poison public opinion and perceptions before the case went before a jury.

The duo had just appeared on ABC radio when they posed for this little memento of their encounter. To this observer and keen follower of the Pell saga, the snap brought to mind something more than the sisterhood of strong women we hear so much about. Rather, it suggested the involvement of feministas, some ex-Catholics and all social justice warriors, who have been intimately involved in the getting of Pell.  It might be opined, and certainly should be explored, whether and to what extent a certain kind of  feminist imbued with anti-clerical sentiment has been hovering in the background since the get-go.   For starters, consider the involvement of 

Julia Gillard, the ex-Methodist (now atheist) and extreme feminist former prime minister, set the show on the road with her establishment of what became the Catholic Church-obsessed Royal Commission into institutional sex abuse. 

Vivian Waller, Gillard’s old mate and Emily’s Lister, has made a career and a reputation on the back of what she and others see as the sins of the Church, its inadequate recompense to complainants and, by their reckoning, insufficient remorse for the sins of the fathers. 

Belinda Wallington is the magistrate who refused to recuse herself from presiding over the committal hearing despite allegations of pro-prosecution bias from the defence team.  “Don’t shout at me, Mr Richter” was her considered response to the QC’s request that she stand down.

Wallington’s social justice warrior and feminist credentials are on the record. Here, for example, is Wallington on the CFMEU’s John Setka:

“The language, the misogynistic language in the texts, is what’s causing concern.” Ms Wallington said.

Outside court, Ms Walters — who sat in the courtroom with Mr Setka and his eldest son — said her husband was not a misogynist.

“I’m his wife, he talks to me more than any of you, and I’m saying he’s not a misogynist,” she said.

Setka isn’t everyone’s cup of chowder, of course.  Yet Wallington’s choice of words is a reminder of core feminist motivations and weapons.  Playing the misogynist card is an old trick, as we know.  There is even a “misogynist speech” entry in Wikipedia, thanks to Ms Gillard, when it was Cardinal Pell’s old friend, Tony Abbott, who found himself in the fembot PM’s firing line.

The “grim-faced” Wallington’s decision to be photographed with Louise Milligan astonishes me, given the circumstances.  As noted in the Herald Sun in 2018:

Wallington appeared on the highly opinionated Jon Faine’s Conversation Hour last year with Milligan, who was plugging her book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell.

… Events around this photo have left lawyers “gobsmacked”, as a key prosecution witness and the magistrate in charge of the Pell case appeared on the same ABC radio program.

The Pell legal team, not unreasonably, called it “apprehended bias”.  Milligan praised Wallington after their appearances on the Jon Faine show in mid-May 2017.  Yes, a mere few weeks before VicPol charged George Pell, a year after Milligan met the surviving victim she identifies as “The Kid”, and two years after he contacted Victoria Police, under instructions from Waller.  The Pell investigation, Operation Tethering, was already well and truly down the track.

And it must be remembered that Milligan wasn’t just an author. Not at all. She would also be a key witness at Pell’s committal, overseen by, let us repeat, Belinda Wallington! Apprehended bias, indeed.  This leads us naturally to Louise “I was brought up Catholic” Milligan, who has said of her formative years:

I’m interested in the church, it’s one of those things about being Catholic – it kind of stays in your bones. It never really leaves you even though you may leave it.

Milligan left the Church as a teenager, having been “brought up a strict Catholic”.  And she has all the hallmarks of a female ex-Catholic fired up over the patriarchal Church and people, like Pell,  daring to preach about sexual ethics.  Her myriad tweets are testimony to a spittle-flecked vitriol.

She was drawn into the Pell saga by another woman and Melbourne contemporary, abuse victim Julie Stewart, with whom she closely identified.  One of Milligan’s drivers was that the Pell complainants – all believed by Milligan, every one of them  – were fighting an institution “in denial”.  Even the most casual observer of the Melbourne Response (instigated by Pell, as it happens, in 1996),  and Towards Healing, would not find an institution “in denial”.  Milligan’s employer might be said to be “in denial” about what goes on in remote Aboriginal communities and among child-marrying Muslims.  The ABC might also be said to be “in denial” over one of its own, the late and unlamented Richard Neville, who boasted of sex with an underage girl.  But that is another story.

Milligan’s book – described by First Things‘ Julia Yost as a “semiliterate regurgitation of police theories” – was published by yet another feminist and #MeToo warrior, ex-Methodist Ladies College girl and darling of the luvvies, Louise Adler.  Having been shafted by Melbourne University Press, Adler has now joined Hachette Australia. Adler speaks glowingly of MeTooism: “The #metoo campaign is revealing the pervasive nature of predatory behaviour.”

Finally we come to Anne Ferguson, Chief Justice of Victoria and former student of the Brigidine Sisters at Springvale Victoria.  A career contracts solicitor and married to another Victorian Supreme Court judge, Ferguson’s almost unbelievable Pell appeal judgment was politely put to the sword by fellow judge Weinberg and absolutely shredded by legal scholars such as John Finnis and Gerard Bradley.

Ferguson’s willingness to believe everything the complainant claimed, plus her scepticism at all manner of exculpatory evidence, reeks of the legal #MeTooism now embedded in the Victorian justice system.  Her judgment on the appeal hammers even more nails into the coffin of justice for those accused of sexual offences.

On Ferguson’s appointment in 2017, the Australian Financial Review noted:

Her appointment to chief justice will continue the line of strong women holding senior judicial roles in the nation, including High Court chief justice Susan Kiefel and fellow High Court judges Virginia Bell and Michelle Gordon, Queensland Supreme Court chief justice Catherine Holmes, NSW Court of Appeal president Margaret Beazley, Justice Ward, and Family Court chief justice Diana Bryant.

The childless Ferguson took over as Chief Justice from yet another “first woman”, Marilyn Warren, appointed by Rob Hulls.  More on him to follow. Warren was educated at Kilbreda Convent in Mentone and later became a policy adviser to Labor attorneys-general, including John Cain and, briefly, Labor Opposition Leader Jim Kennan. So yet another fine pedigree.  Feminist lawyers and Catholic-or-other religious upbringings everywhere.

Then there is the feminist cheer squad on the sidelines.

To get a sense of the sheer vitriol with which certain women, especially feminist Catholics or, even more intensely, feminist ex-Catholics, view prelates such as Pell, one only has to consider the zany theology of someone like the sadly persistent Kristina Keneally.  Only recently, Keneally told us she was appalled  — indeed, “gobsmacked”– at the suggestion by Melbourne Archbishop Comensoli that Pell might actually be innocent. This view was sympathetically captured in a Guardian headline: “Labor senator says she can’t understand how Peter Comensoli‏ can continue defending paedophile”. Keneally linked Comensoli’s quite reasonable defence of Pell to his statement that he would defy new Victorian laws mandating the breaking of the sacred seal of the Catholic confessional.

“Here we have an archbishop just declaring he is going to break the law rather than report a child sexual abuse that is revealed to him in the confessional,” Keneally said.

“I can’t understand how he can stand in front of the Australian people and make that statement, given all the evidence that has come out of the royal commission in relation to the Catholic church and child sexual abuse.”

Consulting Keneally, the gender-relativist Catholic, on matters of sacramental theology is a bit like getting advice on bushfire prevention from an arsonist.  Yet it is useful as a measure of the sheer animus of feminists of a certain age in relation to matters Catholic, patriarchy and the sexual revolution. For an innocent Catholic prelate fated to enter the Victorian sexual justice system, the thought of endless angry, ruthlessly determined, systematised feminists coming at you must be akin to a recurring nightmare.

Sex abuse central in the Victorian legal system is the Sex Offences List of the Melbourne Magistrate Court.  This has been going since 2006, having been introduced by Labor’s Rob Hulls, then the attorney-general, and now an adjunct professor running an outfit called the Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT University. The driving force for the changes was to make the system “more responsive to victims of sexual offences”, and the legislative reforms followed on from a lengthy consideration by the Victorian Law Reform Commission.  There is something immediately noticeable about the inquiry’s sexual offences advisory committee.  Can you spot it? The committee members were:

# Antoinette Braybrook, Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service

# Gary Ching, Sexual Offences Unit, Office of Public Prosecutions

# Marg D’Arcy, CASA House [Centre Against Sexual Assault, providing counselling and advocacy services; CASA’s approach is summarised thus: “CASA House’s approach to counselling and advocacy is based in our understanding of sexual assault as an act of violence that occurs within a social context and has both social and individual consequences. Victim/survivors often report the biggest impact of sexual assault is feeling they have lost a sense of power and control in their own lives. CASA House counselling and advocacy therefore aims to support victim/survivors to not only explore the social nature of sexual assault perpetration, but also to explore the individual impacts of sexual assault and regain a sense of power and control in their lives.”]

# Maria Dimopolous, MyriaD Consultants [also of the Victorian Multicultural Commission]

# Phil Grano, Office of the Public Advocate

# Karen Hogan, Gatehouse Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital

# Sgt Sandra James, Victoria Police

# Therese McCarthy, TMA Consult

# Inspector Lisa McMeeken, Victoria Police

# Pam O’Neill, Barwon CASA

# Her Honour Judge Margaret Rizkalla, County Court

# Her Honour Judge Meryl Sexton, County Court

# Dr Caroline Taylor, University of Ballarat [now a professor of social justice]

# Dr Alison Young, University of Melbourne [specialises in the cultural representations of justice and “graffiti and street art”].

Yep – two males out of 14 members.  Some ways to go to achieve gender balance there.  And look at the backgrounds of the committee’s members.  There is more than a soupçon of advocacy.  Not much chance the advice to the government would be anything other than a dramatic shift towards victims’ rights, whatever the consequences for the innocent accused.

Whether the preponderance of women here is the result of self-selection — perhaps lots of women go into the sex abuse victims field – or by design, the imbalance is noteworthy.  But is it significant, either in its motivation or its legal or other impacts?  It might be.  Sex abuse victims are typically, though not always, either women or minors.  The urge to right wrongs, to seek justice for a class of the oppressed, where the oppressors are mostly male, is clearly strong among activist women.  But whatever the motivation, the outcome has clearly been to tilt the balance towards the identified-as-oppressed (victims), with significant legal consequences.

The Commission’s report, tabled in 2004, was a key driver of the Victorian Government’s subsequent actions. The Victorian Government received the Law Reform Commission report with open arms and set about root-and-branch change in the interests of victims.  This system change had deleterious consequences for George Pell.  The creation of this “trail blazing” Victorian operation and its systems, methodologies and priorities since 2006 have a number of features:

# Routine consideration of “complainants” as “victims” (see under Graham Ashton’s repeated, public use of the term “victim” in relation to The Kid);

# The deliberate biasing of the process towards complainants;

# Feeling public pressure to achieve convictions;

# The prevention of defendants cross examining complainants and “other vulnerable witnesses” in open court;

# Making testimony via closed circuit television “routine”;

# Restricting access to the complainants counselling records;

# Emerging me-tooism as the default philosophy of the Court;

# The interwoven networks across the system – including sex crimes police, prosecutors, complainants’ advocacy lawyers and female politicians;

# The preponderance of women in the sex offences system.

This amounts to a reform process built on an ideology.  It is nothing less than groupthink delivering a new class of group rights, inimical to due legal process and our democracy, and privileging those thought to have been previously disadvantaged by “the system” at the expense of the accused’s presumption of innocence.  This new stacking of the odds, delivered by ideologues, amounted to a revolutionary change to the basis of our legal processes.  This is a system designed by activists and implemented by activists — and mostly aggrieved female activists at that.

A number of observers have noted the close resemblance of the Pell case in Australia to the Carl Beech debacle in the UK, especially in relation to the utter credulity of the police in automatically believing far-fetched stories about alleged abuse.

In this context The Salisbury Review has editorialised:

Why did experienced officers believe in such rubbish?  Women are in charge of society now.  Although they are just as predatory as men when it comes to sex, in matters of bed male justice will no longer do and the burden of proof has been reversed.  The accused is now guilty until proven innocent.  Consequently any allegation by the victim (the word accuser has been dropped), however wild and improbable, must be believed by the police until a court decides otherwise.  As the accused is guilty until proven innocent, it is perfectly in order to publish his name in order to trawl for more of his victims.

… Where did this reversal of justice come from?  “Believing the victim” has been a central tenet of a female-dominated counselling culture since the Sixties. [It is] usually known as “unconditional regard”.

Such feminised notions of sexual justice are all of a piece with the approach taken by Justices Ferguson and Maxwell in rejecting the Pell appeal.  Their view was, as noted by Pell case expert Chris Friel, that “belief in the complainant is foundational”.

The reform process in Victoria and elsewhere was motivated by two converging drivers – even before the #MeToo tipping point in the mid-to-late 2010s.  These were, first, the core reality of sexual abuse cases, viz. that they were witness-less and therefore often unpunished, and second, that the churches in particular were increasingly being revealed to have harboured multiple sex abusers over a long time.  This was a perfect storm into which strode well-meaning (and other), strongly motivated politicians and others from their associated policy communities determined to right wrongs, and if necessary smash some eggs in the making of a better omelette – for the victims. As is so often the case with the good intentions paving company, there were unfortunate consequences, especially for innocent accused clerics in the crosshairs.

In 2016, The Age did a story on “a day in the life of the sex court”.  Those featured include a now familiar name, Belinda Wallington.  The story notes:

Although sexual offences can be notoriously hard to prosecute, Wall says her team tries to make every victim feel as supported and protected as possible.

“The public has a really high expectation that the courts and police are taking it really seriously.”

Here is the reminder of two critical aspects of the court process as it has evolved: the public pressure for scalps and the favouring of the complainant-as-victim. But there is more:

Another striking feature of the court is its gender imbalance. Most of the positions of power in the court, on this day at least, are occupied by women – the magistrate, Metcalf, her clerk, two police prosecutors, an Office of Public Prosecutions prosecutor, and many of the defence lawyers.

Apart from one exception, all the defendants are men.

The warrior’s warrior is, of course, the now famous Vivian Waller, The Kid’s lawyer.  There is a slightly strange statement on Vivian Waller’s webpage: “Sadly, Catholic Clergy are vastly over represented as defendants in her practice.” The focus is unmistakable:

Dr Waller has [in 2014] more than 500 clients, almost all victims of Catholic clergy, and the number grows by about 10 a week. “You think it’s a finite group of people, but it just doesn’t stop,” Dr Waller said.

As of September 2019, Waller is pursuing 350 claims against Catholic institutions, helped as others have been by the Victorian Government’s 2018 decision to close a loophole (the so-called Ellis defence) that formerly protected the Church from being sued by sex abuse complainants.  New South Wales followed suit.  According to the NSW Attorney General, “We are changing the power balance so survivors can hold institutions accountable for horrific abuse and move forward with their recovery.” 

Here again is the notion of “changing the legal balance” that informed those 2006 reforms that eventually did the Cardinal in.

There is now a veritable avalanche, no doubt helped by Waller’s indefatigable lobbying of government to snooker the Church.  Julia Gillard’s royal commission, called in in November 2012, has certainly proved to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Waller has been personally pursuing George Pell for almost a decade.  Here is Waller on Pell, in 2014:

Dr Waller said she had been “absolutely staggered” by what had come out at the Royal Commission hearings in Melbourne including the Catholic Church’s ability to pay more generous compensation and Cardinal Pell’s comparison of the church to a trucking company in relation to culpability if a driver sexually assaulted a hitch-hiker.

“I cannot even begin to tell you how many ways that is offensive”.

The latter phrase is redolent of Keneally’s response to Comensoli: patriarchal Pell is unsympathetic to victims. He deserved to be pursued.

If there were any convincing evidence that Catholic clergy were more prone to be accused of, or worse, guilty of, child sex abuse than, say, non-Catholic pastors, or non-clerical Church employees, or employees of state education systems or family members/stepfathers/creepy uncles, then Waller’s admitted targeting practices might be unobjectionable, even unnoticed.  But because Catholic clergy are not more prone to sex abuse than other institutions and individuals, Waller’s slightly out-there commentary – on a legal practice web site – strikes one as symptomatic of something else.

Waller’s web page also notes:

In 2005 the Victorian Women Lawyers bestowed upon her an Achievement Award for her services to victims of sexual assault.

One encomium described Waller as follows, noting her prominent role in bringing about the state-led inquiry into the Church’s response to sex abuse, “Dr Waller is tenacious in bringing the powerful to account for their wrongs.”

It certainly helped the cause to have as a close friend and one-time mentor, the then-prime minister, only too ready to set in train a royal commission that would lead to scalps beyond the initial dreams of the activists.

Waller is a heroine to the sex crime victim “community” (for a community it is).  One might even call it the Sex Crimes Victims Industrial Complex, such are the interconnections that run broad and deep south of the Murray.  This complex is the place where law, politics, activism and social justice co-locate.

Waller explained her motivation in pursuing the law:

It’s a passion for social justice, I think. Often the law lags behind social change, in areas like legalising gay marriage. But sometimes the law does lead by example. In Alabama in 1955, Rosa Parks was asked by a bus driver to relinquish her seat to a white passenger.

Waller has spent time visiting remote Aboriginal communities, not to investigate that ongoing, nagging and yet very politically incorrect abuse within these communities.  No, Waller’s focus was on abuse in “missions, schools and orphanages”.  So, somewhat selective social justice. But who is the prime target of Waller’s outrage? “This work found me,” she explained. “It wasn’t something I set out to do but I cannot stand the thought of the bully in the schoolyard, and that’s what the Catholic Church has been. It’s thought itself to be above the state and a law unto itself”. Waller is but one member of this cadre of focused, sex abuse warriors steamrolling their way through the ecclesiastic patriarchy.

Feminism and anti-Catholicism seem natural bedfellows.  As one feisty example of the breed suggested, “misogyny is the Catholic Church’s original sin”.

The faux theology, the sheer anger, the conflation of categories, the linking of sex crimes to patriarchy, are all present and in spades.  There is little to be learned here, save for the explanation that it provides for the feminist attack on the Church.  It is worthy of the “theologically trained” Keneally. It is all of a piece with what happens to Catholic churches on International Women’s day each year.  As noted by Church Militant, former Irish president Mary McAleese blasted the Catholic Church at a women’s conference in Rome in early 2018, calling it a “patriarchal, misogynistic empire”.  An empire ripe for destruction, one gathers.

There are, of course, many ways that an angry female mob can wreak vengeance on a Church that “stole their childhoods”.  One doesn’t need firebombs and graffiti.  There is always bankrupting the institution, attaining huge clerical scalps, death by a thousand public relations cuts, gaoling clerics who refuse to break their sacred undertakings in relation to Confession and de-sacralising the Church.

Not all anti-Catholic or ex-Catholic women are feminists.  Not all feminists are anti-Church.  Not all angry ex-Catholics are women.  Not all social justice warriors believe all priests are paedophiles.  Not all #MeToo’ers believe all complainants are necessarily truth tellers.  Not all Victorian legal reformers are biased against defendants.  All this might be true. 

Was Pell hounded, then pursued, his reputation trashed, then charged, then convicted and then jailed just because of the efforts of a few crusading women?  Of course not, you might think.  Highly improbable.  On this view, Gillard, Waller, Wallington, Milligan, Stewart, Adler, Ferguson, Keneally were, variously, simply “doing their jobs”. 

Those of us who find utterly unbelievable the sheer number of extreme improbabilities and coincidences that had to have all occurred that day in St Patrick’s Cathedral, and which so convinced Anne Ferguson of Pell’s guilt, might well come to think that Pell was indeed the big target of those with a very particular and highly focused stake in avenging the Church for its misdeeds.  For its daring to bring them up “strictly” Catholic, for its patriarchy, for its preaching against the sexual revolution and especially its “reproductive rights” that they hold so dear, for its “maleness” and misogyny, for its hypocritical preachiness, for its proven cases of sexual abuse and alleged coverups, for its failure to attend sufficiently to complainants in their quest for recompense.

Through heinous crimes and bungled and ill-informed, even if well-intentioned, institutional responses to these crimes, the Catholic Church in Australia and beyond has left itself open to the war cries of its long-term critics.  Deserved or not.  Many of these critics are radical feminists, daughters of the Sixties social revolution, the sisterhood’s sisterhood, and a goodly number of them are anti-religious, especially those once brought up Catholic.  They are embedded in the legal system and the media.  Their interests are well and truly aligned.  They are leading lights among victims’ support groups.  And they helped to bring about a system of justice in Victoria wedded to MeTooism.

These fembots come hard at the Church, fearsome advocates running amok.  And they came for Cardinal Pell, the grim, hard faced, patriarchal old school prelate from central casting.  He was asking for trouble.  And the highly networked, victim-obsessed and ideologically driven new system of sex crime justice in Victoria made damned sure he got it.

23 comments
  • Richo

    Well done Paul. An excoriating critique of our times. All three of my children go to Catholic schools, none of them were aware of the fate that befell the cardinal until I spoke to them about it some months ago. Pell elicits little sympathy from within the Catholic Church itself. The hierarchy has been shamed by the power of the state. The Church will continue to be pilloried as an institution until it can learn to stand up for itself.

  • Richard H

    We shouldn’t be too hard on Ferguson (not that I’m suggesting you were).

    All that experience sitting at a desk, analysing contracts, is no preparation for assessing the difficult ambiguities of evidence in a criminal trial. And without substantial and wide-ranging courtroom experience, she is hopelessly unqualified for the position of Chief Justice.

    But then, if she truly had integrity she would have refused the diversity-hire appointment to the State’s highest judicial office.

  • jimmaths

    Actually it’s not quite true that “the Pell complainants – all believed by Milligan, every one of them.” For reasons unexplained, David Ridsdale somehow got the wrong side of Milligan and his claims that he told Pell he was abused by his uncle Gerald Ridsdale and that Pell tried to bribe him have been written out of her story.

  • Ian MacDougall

    Pell cannot possibly be guilty, because clergy and Hell for sinners. Then again, there is this from Clare Linane “a Ballarat local who has been living with the aftermath of child sexual abuse for many years.”
    .
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/04/andrew-bolt-please-stop-implying-that-you-know-all-the-facts-about-george-pell

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    Looking at some of the orders that trained these Judges and writers there is a strong vein of justice to be done. The charisma of the Brigidine Sisters is slowly ebbing as the novitiate stopped taking postulants some years ago.
    As a child I was once accused and punished for something I had not done.
    The response was by one Loreto trained, ‘Well Lewis there are lots of things you may have done and not been caught for, so just offer this one up to the Holy Souls.’
    Now pragmatically this is OK for a child.
    Recently when a social justice person was asked the same about Pell the response was ‘ Well he probably did things wrong in his life so if he’s convicted wrongly he will make up his punishment by this’.
    Richard H makes the argument with precedent ‘Forgive them..for they know not what they do’.
    In effect promotion out of key competency range.
    Not so sure, the last judgement looked for ways to support the jury decision, ie truth is determined by jury and plausibility,
    not objective facts.
    But then, the moral backstop could be ‘we know he’s guilty, the jury said so, who are we to judge and change things on a forensic analysis of the evidence, if we are wrong, then he will get brownie points in Heaven.’
    As an aside, the majority opinion looked brief and rushed.
    No doubt a lot of curly balls being thrown from Lawyer X and those that sanctioned her works.
    Time for a High Court spot of leave.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Ian Mac, The Guardian is not a credible source for anything. If it were, you wouldn’t use them as a source, because you would not like what they print.

  • Ian MacDougall

    DT: “The Guardian is not a credible source… (etc).”
    A wonderful bit of reasoning and logic there. So if the Groan say A, not-A will be true. Therefore if the Groan gets the permission of Clare Linane to publish her piece, then her advice the Andrew Bolt will be based on untruths; in fact the whole story will be a pile of garbage:
    “If you want to support Pell, go and visit him in jail. Help fund his appeal. Take Miranda Devine with you..
    In the meantime, here in Ballarat we are going to continue to try to deal with the fact that our suicide rate among males is twice that of Melbourne and 65% greater than the Victorian average.
    We are going to keep helping women, children, mothers, fathers, and siblings pick up the pieces as their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers prematurely end their lives.
    We are going to keep lobbying for the redress scheme that the royal commission recommended, so that our survivors get the practical and emotional assistance they need.
    We are going to keep trying to figure out how to reverse what has now become a cultural problem whereby males in our community resort to suicide instead of seeking help.
    Honestly, the fact that our most senior Catholic has been jailed is the least of our worries right now.”
    I leave it to the legal system to judge Pell: not scribblers of the press; not God, and not good loyal Catholics either; though at least some of them must be Doubting Thomases themselves right now, and for understandable reasons.
    So I respectfully suggest you change your nom-de-blog to Gullible Geoffrey.

  • PT

    Yet more deflection from Ian. Firstly that woman, apparently, isn’t “living” with the aftermath of child sexual abuse really. Her husband is (so we’re told). I don’t get to have some sort of “victims privilege” because my other half was molested as a child, and neither does “Clare Linane”. Aside from the “victims’ perspective” she has no more authority or knowledge on this case than any of those who’ve posted here, including you. She wasn’t a witness, and as far as we know, wasn’t at St Patrick’s in the day of the alleged crimes either. What is the substance of her complaint? Her husband and others were abused by a Catholic Cleric; Pell’s a Catholic Cleric; therefore Pell must be guilty!

    Yes, the previous denial of the other choirboy doesn’t prove it didn’t happen. But it equally doesn’t support it either. So you have to evaluate the merits of the case – which is an un corroborated allegation of a single person. So it has to be whether the tale stacks up.

    But if you look at the claim (which is now available – at least the more relevant bits – via the published results of the appeal judgement), it doesn’t stack up. The altar servers would have entered the Sacristy only a minute or so after the choirboys (they couldn’t have entered first because they supposedly ran off just before the end of the procession, and apparently took a shorter route). The servers ended their procession in that room – and thus would have HAD to enter it when it ended. Then then clear away all the silverware, cloth etc, and take it back to… the same Sacristy where these kids were swigging wine and allegedly being abused sexually. It’s not just a “risk” that someone would have gone in, but a certainty that many would have during the time of the alleged crime. The Sacristy wasn’t some private space for Pell. The only corroborating evidence claimed is that the “kid” (he’s in his mid-30’s, no longer a kid) correctly identified that the wine was kept in the alcove, where it apparently isn’t anymore. But this is undermined by him claiming it was “sweet red wine” when it’s firmly established that it was white wine at the time. Clare doesn’t know everything about Pell either, and none of what she said has much bearing on the case.

  • PT

    I’d further add Ian Mac, that abuse of police power, and undermining the presumption of innocence and taking the poisonous notion of always “believe the victim”, and if you don’t it’s going to have a “chilling effect” on “other victims” – this leads to such travesties as the Mike Pearson case in London. Now if you’re happy that loads of innocent men may be hauled before a court and be imprisoned just to be sure you may get some guilty ones, then think of this: what’s to stop a person with bad intentions just alleging things about you and getting you thrown in gaol? Using state power as their instruments? Only the fact they have to prove their case, right. But the Pell case flies in the face of this. So this SHOULD concern everyone. As we are all subject to the power of the state!

  • deric davidson

    PT do you really think Ian and his fellow travelers are interested in evidence, facts and ultimately the truth? They’ll drag in every red herring and irrelevancy they can. It’s called obfuscation. They “Got Pell” and that’s all that matters. His guilt or innocence is beside the point. He’s the sacrificial lamb just like the Person he pays homage to. If we lived in Roman times Pell would have already joined the long line of crucified Christians. Or more illustratively in keeping with the (feminist) revolution he would have been guillotined while ‘the women’ knitted and watched his execution with glee.

  • Ian MacDougall

    “Yet more deflection from Ian. Firstly that woman, apparently, isn’t “living” with the aftermath of child sexual abuse really. Her husband is (so we’re told). I don’t get to have some sort of ‘victims privilege’ because my other half was molested as a child, and neither does ‘Clare Linane’. Aside from the ‘victims’ perspective’ she has no more authority or knowledge on this case than any of those who’ve posted here , including you. ”
    CIRCLE THE WAGONS…!
    Where to begin?
    ‘Clare Linane’ is married to a man who claims to have been a child victim of perverted Catholic clerics: perverted probably because celibacy. That is her ‘authority.’ (Hence perhaps the current pope’s kite-flying suggestion that celibacy might end, which I take as code for ‘if this does not stop, then the Church as an institution probably will.’)
    But I like your loyalty, devotion and team spirit.
    Then we have Gerald Ridsdale, the clerical pervert with whom Pell in Ballarat shared digs for about a year. “Ninety per cent of the 140 abuse complaints reported to the diocese related to seven priests, with more than half of those relating to one individual, the infamous paedophile Gerald Ridsdale.”
    (CAUTION! The passage I just quoted above comes from the (choke! caaargh! splutter! hawk! spit!*) ABC. )
    Then there is also a WP article devoted to Ridsdale. CAUTION AGAIN: The Catholic clerical establishment did all it could to protect Ridsdale from the legal consequences of his chosen-of-his-own-free-will actions. And Pell, innocent until proven guilty, shared digs with the pervert and we are asked to believe he knew nothing of his predilections. Well, I don’t think that would pass the PT (Pub Test.) But presumption of innocence and all that, with onus of proof on the prosecution: historically part of the British Justice System. Because for someone found guilty, penalties could be so severe.
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Ridsdale
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-06/royal-commission-report-on-ballarat-archdiocese/9231832

  • Stephen Due

    Excellent article, thank you Paul. It seems to me that the incredibility of the complainant’s case is confirmed by the obvious fact that it would take a sexual superman with two highly co-operative victims to do in half an hour what Pell is supposed to have done 5 minutes. It only happens in five minutes in Fantasy Land, which is where the complaint against Pell seems to have come from.

  • Richo

    Of course, the blunt instrument of the state, being used against men, to bolster political privilege, would have nothing to do with the perversely high male suicide rate.

  • Stephen Due

    Ian Mcd. When you refer to “perverted Catholic clerics perverted probably because of celibacy” warning bells start ringing. Surely they are much more likely to have been perverted by homosexuality? After all, there is abundant evidence from the Royal Commission findings – in which men abusing boys predominate – that the highest risk factor for sexual abuse of boys in our community is not celibacy, but homosexuality. After the Royal Commission, who would hire a homosexual to teach boys? All the evidence on the historical practice of homosexuality suggests that it is boys who are the favorite object of middle-aged homosexual ‘love’ (as the Greeks called it). ‘Love’ is most emphatically NOT ‘love’ – a fact so obvious that only people already besotted by modern sex-obsession could not see it . The current drive to make homosexuality respectable seems necessarily to involve a denial of the obvious.

  • Ian MacDougall

    Stephen:
    “Surely they are much more likely to have been perverted by homosexuality? ”
    Well come to think of it, you could well be right. Probably are. I guess for a male homosexual, the prospect of forgoing Holy Matrimony (with a woman) is less of a daunting prospect than it is for a standard randy throw-caution-to-the-ducks heterosexual young bloke such as I once was. (Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I has been as many years as you like since my last confession. In fact, this is my very first. How many Hail Marys should I say? And would it be OK if I say them into a voice recorder and just play that over and over on endless repeat? I am sure God will understand. After all, He made me the way I am.)
    For the record: I used to regard myself as a Christian, because I used to read the Gospels. Then some Evangelicals told me that I wasn’t. A Christian. Then on reflection, I came to agree with them.
    So now I identify as a freethinker.

  • PT

    Well Ian Mac, call for Bonjourno’s resignation then – he “shared digs” with the molester as well. Oh, but perhaps you believe that HE didn’t know, innocent lefties that he is.
    .
    Clare’s husband (taking her word for it) is “living with it”, NOT Clare! This isn’t hard to understand. One doesn’t become a “survivor” just because you’re married to one. Just as I don’t get to claim “victims’ privilege” because my other have was sexually molested as a child.
    .
    Further, I’m not Catholic, and never was. I suspect you were though, given your previous repeating of the old style Irish Catholic prejudices and complaints.
    .
    Regarding Pell. Look at the evidence. The story doesn’t really add up. They should not have had time alone in that room given the timeframe of the alleged offence. And he even got the colour of the wine wrong (the claim was alway that “the kid” had a better memory of the day because of the “traumatic experience” and should be believed over the testimony that Pell was never left unattended whilst robed up, which is Catholic cannon law). Even a 13 year old knows the difference between red and white wine! There’s something wrong with the tale there alone. Yet a man is convicted on the uncorroberated, and dubious tale of a single accuser! And you don’t see a problem here?

  • Ian MacDougall

    PT:
    “And you don’t see a problem here?”
    I have to confess that I do see a problem here. To put it in brief, this right here and now is trial by newspaper; or to be more accurate, trial by online journal. And whatever the defects of the court system we have, a jury privy to ALL the evidence, which neither you, nor I, nor Andrew Bolt, nor old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all have access to because of victim protection, has found him guilty; the Appelate Court has rejected his appeal 2 to 1, and we await the result of his appeal the High Court of Australia.
    Through all of that, he may still be innocent, in which case a fallible human legal system, despite all efforts to make it bullet-proof, has failed the defendant and the State of Victoria which has jurisdiction in this matter.
    I still believe it better to let ten guilty men go free than it is to bang up one innocent man. Is the legal system in need of further reform? Probably is. Perhaps the Continental inquisitorial system is better than our adversarial one, where the one or more judges are free to ask questions of witnesses, and the aim is still to find the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Such a system might have summoned the banged-up defrocked (‘laicised’) self-confessed pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and questioned him. I don’t know.
    From where I stand, the Ridsdale-Pell connection is not a good look, and it frankly strains my brain to try to form a belief that all those two ever talked about over breakfast, lunch, dinner and a brandy or two before retiring was canonical, parish and dioscesan issues, papal encyclicals and abstruse theology. Particulary given Ridsdale’s self-confessed inclinations.
    I used to consider myself to be a Christian: up until around my 18th year. I grew up in Sydney and attended the local suburban Anglican church. I used to take my Christianity very seriously: particularly the Sermon on the Mount. Now, after a lifetime of study of both the natural sciences and the humanities, I see things a bit differently.
    All churches, except perhaps the Quakers in Australia (who call themselves The Society of Friends), have a professional priesthood that exercises power at various levels and has arrogated privileges unto itself. There are privileged areas of any church building that are off-limits to the congregation, at least during a service, and for some time before and after. Maybe at all times; I dunno. The Sanctuary is one, and the Vestry is another. This contrasts markedly IMHO with the ideas and practice of Christ himself.
    Pell has come unstuck because of this clerical privilege and the clerical power he exercised. On whether he had the time, circumstances and/or inclination to do what he was accused of doing, a jury has delivered its verdict and the appeal court has confirmed it. If his present High Court appeal fails, then he will do his porridge and eventually be released. And if the history of Christianity is any guide, the Catholic Church in Victoria will divide on the issue of Pell, possibly to the point of schism. In the eyes of some Catholics, Pell will not be fit to even sit in the back row of the congregation, reflecting on his own life; the full truth of which he alone knows.

    NB: Even if he exists, which I very much doubt, I do not think God gives a damn one way or another. That’s the way the world and the Universe works.

  • Wayne

    This argument that Pell must have known about Risdale because he lived with him goes against the evidence of wives and children of murderers and rapists being unaware of their father’s activities. Of couples being unaware of their partners infidelities. Many other examples of monsters living ordinary lives with those they associate with being blissfully unaware of heir true natures are available on almost a daily basis.

    We have one example in Perth right now of a confessed rapist being held on murder charges living a respectable life in suburbia with his family and friends. Did they not know? Apparently not.

    It is in my view perfectly reasonable to assume that an individual can hide their true natures from others close to them.

  • PT

    Ian Mac, the issue here is that so-called “reforms” and this insistence that we “believe” any “victims” (why have a trial at all then?). The idea that the accusers in this case can give court statements over CCTV has now become an old recording can be used. And as the statement of the accuser is pretty much the totality of the prosecution evidence, Given the attitude of the majority of the justices in the appeal, I fail to see how the class continental system is “superior”. The issues here are to do with undermining procedures, poisoning the public mind (see the 4 Corners hatchet job), and political bias. Pell’s guilt or innocence (and anyone else up on such charges for that matter) should be determined by the facts of the case, not your “guilt by association” smear. And certainly not the notion that if he gets let off, it will have a “chilling effect” on others coming forward.
    .
    Regarding you Risdale smear. Aside from the fact you should clearly demand that Bonjourno be sacked and charged as an accessory after the fact, Tony Cooke, senior ALP figure and former long term head of the TUC in WA should be charged as an accessory after the fact for multiple counts of murder, robbery and assault. His father was Eric Edger Cooke, WA’s worst serial killer (and one man crime wave – look him up)! It’s ridiculous for you to imagine that a serial predator like Risdale is going to discuss his “conquests” over the breakfast table! I imagine that Pell and Bonjourno were billeted with Risdale rather than all planning to rent a house because they were “mates”!

  • Ian MacDougall

    PT: “Pell’s guilt or innocence (and anyone else up on such charges for that matter) should be determined by the facts of the case, not your ‘guilt by association’ smear.”
    As far as I am aware, Pell’s housemate Ridsdale was not part of the Crown case. I grant you, it is possible that Pell knew nothing of Ridsdale’s inclinations and proclivities. But I put it also to you that it is just as possible that he did.
    By its very nature, sexual assault is a crime of the strong against the less strong or weak, and almost always carried out in private, where by definition there are no witnesses. The victim is always relatively powerless against an assault be a much stronger adversary.
    “…And certainly not the notion that if he gets let off, it will have a ‘chilling effect’ on others coming forward.” But it most certainly will. What other effect could acquittal possibly have?
    The Catholic Church in Victoria has a history of hushing up clerical sex crime. Priests are moved to other parishes; never defrocked and kicked out unless found guilty of a serious offence by a criminal trial. The Church circles its wagons well; after all, it has had a fair bit of practice at it.
    “Now his appeal has been denied, George Pell is likely to join at least seven other current and former Catholic clerics who have been locked up in Ararat for sex crimes against children.
    “Five of those seven priests and brothers already imprisoned at the Hopkins Correctional Centre, 200 kilometres west of Melbourne, worked in the Ballarat archdiocese and would be known to Australia’s most senior cleric, who has been in custody since February.
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6346478/getting-the-damned-back-together-pell-to-spend-time-with-familiar-faces/?cs=14231

  • Lawrie Ayres

    There are many aboriginal kids and aboriginal victims of abuse of various sorts and they have no access to any compensation. Moreover the perpetrators are not reported, charged or imprisoned. No feminist magistrate will recommend a trial, no Prosecutor will prepare a case and no jury will ever hear the evidence. That to me is a real case of racism because a victim of a certain race is denied justice simply because to shine a light is to destroy the myth of indigenous culture’s perfection. Meanwhile the victim is just as likely as any white to suffer the consequences of abuse but will not be heard nor ever have their day in court. The left are very particular in who gets their sympathy. Just ask Jacinta Price.

  • Richo

  • Ian MacDougall

    Hang on; careful now Lawrie, careful. The Editor of Quadrant, Keith Windschuttle, has written a whole book arguing that Aboriginal massacres mainly never happened. That sort of attitude might not go down so well round here.

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