Sunday, March 03, 2019

Cardinal Pell

I don't have a considered opinion about the Cardinal Pell conviction. From what I've read, I'm dubious about the process, and the charges seem fishy:

(Admittedly, I'm citing a biased source.) Although the allegations play into an all-too-familiar narrative, it's important to resist a hair-trigger reaction to allegations and consider each example on a case-by-case basis. 


  1. The trial has dominated the press here. One of the amusing comments came from a catholic who believes that there was a conspiracy to stack the jury with "baptists and atheists".

    As a lawyer who has done a rape trial, here are a few reflections.

    Convictions in rape trials are notoriously difficult as it always someone's word against someone else's word. The standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt. There is usually doubt when it is just word against word.

    The statistic here is about a 40% success conviction rate in rape trials

    However, Juries get to see and hear witnesses. In my opinion Pell made a mistake in not getting in to the witness box. His lawyer's made a mistake too. The Jury only heard one side of the story.

    A lot of the noise from the papist lawyers is how it would of been near impossible to rape two choir boys in the way described. That the sacristy is crowded after mass. He wouldn't have been able to part his bishop's robes. Well I'm no expert on Catholic church robes and services, but none of that seems convincing after the brazen, predatory, opportunistic stories we've heard over the years.

    Us lawyers have been hearing stories about Pell for years.

    My view is that he probably did it but it was hard to see how the evidence past the test of beyond reasonable doubt.

    1. Perhaps it's like a jewel thief who got convicted for a heist he didn't commit, while he was never caught for the heists he did commit!

    2. Thats what a lot of people are saying here.

  2. We have heard stories for years...

    I haven't heard any myself, Andrew. I have followed this story for years and the hysteria about Cardinal Pell. I am obviously not a Catholic but still find it hard to believe. Steve, in Australia we had an official government enquiry into Child sexual abuse (called a Royal Commission). I paid close attention to it's investigations of a particular church because I was going to minister in that area. What struck me about each story of clergy abuse is how much time the offenders spent grooming each child; whether on camps, boys clubs or inviting them often to their home where the abuse ultimately took place. Never were there opportunistic occurrences of abuse such as this Pell case. That is what makes it seem unlikely. It could have happened of course, but I think this is a frame up. The culture of the state Victorian government is anti Christian and more strongly anti catholic. Also the Police look like they were trying to seek complainents against Pell before there were any allegations. Maybe they smelled a rat as we say. Or maybe the Police were acting in a completely inappropriate or even corrupt manner. There is an appeal lodged against the decision that will be heard in another court. We will see what happens then.

  3. It could also be seen that Pell was a lightning rod on conservative issue. A climate change skeptic and a moral conservative on sexual issues, particularly to do with LGBTI and same sex marriage. The progressive media have detested him for years so he is a big scalp for them. He could have committed the act but to me it is good also to judge a person not so much by the company they keep but in this case by their enemies. Pell has had many enemies for years and years in Australia. And seemingly in the Vatican where he was cleaning up their finances and making high profile enemies.