Features Australia

For whom the Pell tolls

2 March 2019

9:00 AM

2 March 2019

9:00 AM

As the author of a book on Vatican corruption, I know there are almost no depths to which the progressive Catholic hierarchy will not sink to damage its political enemies. And Cardinal George Pell is the most repellent person imaginable to the so-called ‘lavender mafia’ of powerful left-wing gay bishops in Rome.

Pell is the feisty, plain-spoken son of a heavyweight boxer; he has a track record of financial prudence and he championed the cause of abuse victims long before Rome took the problem seriously. In short, he’s everything the progressive Left and the corrupt Roman curia hate.

And boy, did he make enemies when Pope Francis appointed him to reform the Vatican Bank, one of the most cataclysmically mismanaged financial institutions in the world.

Pell was brought in because he almost single-handedly rescued the Sydney and Melbourne dioceses from bankruptcy, but, as he began to unravel the multi-billion dollar corruption and venality in Rome, he was abruptly – conveniently, you might say – summoned back to Australia to defend himself against sex abuse charges.

The moment he left the Vatican, his bank reforms stalled, and the sinister forces controlling the Catholic church seized the reins again.

The charges against Pell are easy claims to make about a Catholic priest. There’s almost nothing the public won’t believe about Catholics, and our priests in particular. But as anyone who has met Pell could tell you, the things he’s accused of are astonishingly unlikely. And that’s before we get to the details of the case.

Pell was convicted of the sexual abuse of children in a cathedral sacristy after Mass in the 1990s. Ever been to Mass in a major church? It’s pandemonium backstage. There’s just no way any archbishop, as Pell then was, would get a moment alone in a sacristy at that time. It’s a mob scene. There are no private rooms. It’s just not plausible to liken Pell to a remote parish priest taking advantage of a lonely kid in a quiet village church.

Pell’s defence sought to prove that it was physically impossible for him to have committed the crimes of which he was convicted. For one thing, since the 15th century bishops have never been left unattended while robed, and Pell’s archbishop regalia would, it is argued, have physically prevented him from committing the acts of which he is accused.

Pell stood trial twice. At the first trial, the jury could not agree on the verdict. At the second trial there was a unanimous verdict in favour of conviction. That happens, of course, as different juries reach different conclusions on the evidence. But one can’t help but wonder if the prosecution’s only real case against Pell was guilt by association, or destruction of reputation. That might have worked. Let’s face it, juries don’t need much persuasion that Catholic priests are no good. And George Pell in particular has been smothered in fake allegations – something I know all too well after I was wrongly accused of being pro-child abuse myself in February 2017.

Too conservative, too effective and too popular? Prepare to be accused of the most heinous crimes. The problem is, if you throw enough dirt, some of it will eventually stick.

Ever noticed how the establishment Left always accuses others of its own worst sins? Hence the #MeToo witch hunt in misogynist Hollywood, the shrieking about ‘abuse’ and ‘harassment’ by the media and the perpetual racism scandals in universities.

The Vatican is just like Hollywood and college campuses, in the sense of being ruled utterly by fashionable leftism. The only reason other leftists hate Catholics is that they’re constitutionally allergic to God. Otherwise, the Vatican would be a member of the club.

It’s not for lack of trying – just listen to Pope Francis on the subject of climate change or immigration if you don’t believe me.

For years, there have been warnings from within the Catholic church that Pell was going to be the victim of a stitch-up. Anyone with connections in the church can tell you that.

It’s tough to escape the conclusion that Cardinal Pell’s true crime was being a strident doctrinal and political conservative. If you ask me, this is just another case of a conservative being pelted with retaliatory allegations by a sinful, guilty leftist establishment. And let’s also admit, there’s a pretty virulent strain of anti-Catholicism in Australian public life.

Tim Minchin published a song in 2016, after spurious and discredited allegations that Pell covered up abuse, called Come Home (Cardinal Pell) that has garnered three million views on YouTube and thousands of comments, in which he calls the Cardinal ‘scum,’ a ‘coward,’ and ‘a pompous buffoon,’ and speaks with the voice of God to say there’s a place in Hell reserved for him.

There’s a lot more I’d say about Pell’s case if I were free to do so. But, bizarrely for supposedly free nations, there are so-called contempt of court laws on the books in most Anglophile countries that prevent journalists from expressing their opinions. It’s a crime to speak ‘disrespectfully’ of legal authorities, or to imply that courts have acted improperly.

As if that’s not enough, the court put a media gag order on proceedings so that journalists could not report on the trial until long after Pell’s conviction and after the time when it was thought that his trial on other charges would have taken place. Those charges have now been withdrawn, which is the only reason the gag order has now been lifted, but months after the actual conviction last December. The other bizarre thing about the gag order is that it had no effect overseas or on the internet; the conviction was even reported in the Washington Post in December but it could not be reported in Melbourne.

You can be fined in Australia for refusing to stand when a judge enters the room – and these laws are getting stricter as time goes by. New South Wales passed a ‘disrespectful behaviour’ law as recently as 2016.

So that’s where we have to leave it, folks.

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