Cardinal George Pell Is Finished Whatever Way You Look at It
By Peter FitzSimons
Sydney Morning Herald
March 5, 2016
|Cardinal George Pell reads a statement after meeting with abuse survivors in Rome this week. Photo: Getty Images|
The Cardinal's sins means he is finished
Staggeringly, even after all the testimony of Cardinal Pell this week at the royal commission, there is still a scattered band of supporters who refuse to accept the obvious: it is over, and he is finished. The absolute best case that can be made in his defence is that, instead of wilfully ignoring atrocities going on all around him, he just didn't get that it was his duty to do something, to act for the children. This line of defence has it that he didn't get it because that was the way things were done in those times, or, more to the point, not done. Now, even if you accept that – and I don't – how obvious is it that the times have completely passed him by? The Catholic Church sits atop a crisis of its own making. For centuries it has made the sexual starvation of its employees a specific condition of their employment, even while placing many of them around vulnerable children. Notwithstanding the many great priests and nuns who have done wonderful work, such a policy has both attracted and helped to create deviants of indescribable evil, and has demonstrably done so around the world, for centuries. This royal commission is just one example of light currently being shone, globally, upon the horror. Now, in the wake of Cardinal Pell's testimony, who thinks he is the man who should be in the vanguard of leading the church to the light? Please. "Still," the supporters cry, "what about the Melbourne Response, that Pell pioneered?" Exactly. You only need to know one thing about the Melbourne Response. Beyond putting a cap on damages paid to victims, it did not result in a single call being made to police. Not one! As victims came forward, deals were done, and money paid, but not a call. Now, who still defends it? Yes, yes, yes, but apart from you, I mean, Gerard.
Albo and Barnesy to reveal all
After lunching with my publishers on Tuesday, here is the goss. Anthony Albanese will be bringing out his memoirs in August for Random House – quite possibly right in the middle of an election campaign – while Jimmy Barnes will be doing likewise for Harper Collins, with the first of his two-part memoir, Working Class Boy, out in time for Christmas.
Australia can afford to be more generous
Not long before he left for Washington, Joe Hockey mentioned to me that whatever else there was to say about the Australian economy, it boasted something of a miracle in that it had benefited from a <>of solid growth. And he was right! And of course it is not as if we don't have problems, but the bottom line is our last recession was indeed the one Paul Keating said "we had to have," and he, in turn, might have been right if such sustained prosperity is the result. So why, right now, are we at an historic low in term of foreign aid? In 2000, Australia was right there with the best of 'em joined 189 countries in signing up to the Millennium Development Goals - to halve world poverty by 2015. Our signed commitment was to reach 0.7% of our Gross National Income for international aid. At the time, we were giving 0.24% of GNI – and though there was some blowback, Prime Minister John Howard, with bipartisan support, at least committed to a compromise level of 0.5% by 2015. But our giving has since fallen away, with successive governments announcing what amounts to $11.3 billion cuts to aid. This, at the same time the UK were putting their commitment in concrete. As their Prime Minister David Cameron said "we won't balance our books on the backs of the world's poor." Our level is now down to 0.21%, and still another $224 million cut for the next budget. Does that seem right to you?
Joke of the week
Upon hearing that her elderly grandfather has just passed away, Katie goes straight to her grandparents' house to visit her 95-year-old grandmother and comfort her. When she asks how her grandfather died, her grandmother tearfully replies, ''He had a heart attack while we were making love on Sunday morning''.
Horrified, Katie tells her grandmother that two people nearly 100 years old having sex would surely be asking for trouble. ''Oh no, my dear,'' replies her gran. 'Many years ago, realising our advanced age, we figured out the best time to do it was when the Sunday morning church bells would start to ring. It was just the right rhythm. Nice and slow and even. Nothing too strenuous, simply moving in with the ding and out with the dong.''
She pauses to wipe away a tear, and continues, ''He'd still be alive today if that wretched Mr Whippy van hadn't passed by''.
They said it
"It's a sad story, and it wasn't of much interest to me . . . I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated."
Cardinal George Pell to the royal commission. And so, the end.
"If we were to come to the conclusion that you did know about Ridsdale when he was moved, then you would be culpable too?"
Royal commissioner Peter McClellan to Cardinal Pell, who replied, after a pause, "Correct".
"You can't wave a magic wand and correct the situation easily in every situation."
A frustrated Cardinal Pell at the royal commission asked what he had done to help sexually abused children. Counsel assisting Gail Furness, SC: "We are talking about the safety of children, Cardinal ... You don't need a magic wand; you just need a group of adults who are responsible don't you?"
"He's formidable, he understands voters' anxieties, and he will be ruthless against Hillary Clinton. I've gone from denial — 'I can't believe anyone would listen to this guy' — to admiration, in the sense that he's figured out how to capture everyone's angst, to real worry."
Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, on the prospect of president Donald Trump.
"Good riddance to the big fat rat … "
An un-names ALP parliamentarian, on the announced retirement of WA ALP senator Joe Bullock, who has problems with the party's transparently correct stance on gay marriage.
"Here's what I know: Donald Trump is a phoney, a fraud. A person so untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton must not become president. But a Trump nomination enables her victory."
Mitt Romney, Republican presidential nominee for 2012, reaches for the long-handle on his most likely successor in 2016.
"I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it."
Marco Rubio, Republican presidential candidate. On the Republican side, there has not been a single candidate who believes that climate change is a reality – or at least not prepared to say so. In 2016!