Cardinal Pell Has Mastered the Art of Avoiding Responsibility over Child Abuse in the Catholic Church

By David Penberthy
The Advertiser
March 5, 2016

When the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground in 2012, captain Francesco Schettino became a pin-up for the modern art of evading responsibility.

Not only had he been distracted by big-noting himself in the cabin with a couple of good sorts when the ship hit the rocks, the cowardly captain was one of the first to don a lifejacket and leap into a dinghy. Rather than going down with the ship, the bloke couldn’t get off quickly enough.

The blunt exchange between Schettino and the coast guard — “Just do your job!” – was such an emblem for the times that the Italians even printed it as a slogan on T-shirts.

I was reminded of Captain Schottino during the week while watching another slow-moving catastrophe in Italy — the four gruelling days of evidence by Cardinal George Pell, via video link to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

A couple of qualifiers at the start. I agree with conservatives such as John Howard that there has been a “Get Pell” aspect to the discussion of the Cardinal’s role in this affair.

There are some who hate Pell for reasons of politics and ideology. The contribution from the comedian Tim Minchin was juvenile in the extreme. Also, there are some survivors of child abuse who abhor Pell — in their case understandably — because they have succumbed to the human tendency towards focusing their anger on the one convenient hate figure.








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