First they came for Pell…

Catholic Herald

August 29, 2019

By Tim Stanley

Why do so many Catholics refuse to believe that the Australian cardinal George Pell is guilty of child abuse? The cynical answer is “tribal loyalty”: he’s one of us, so we’ll defend him. But Catholics have had plenty of opportunity to get used to the idea of clerics abusing children and we’d gladly condemn the guilty to prison.

No, part of the Catholic objection is an old-fashioned, non-sectarian concern for justice – that if you’re going to convict a man for such an awful crime, you should be pretty damn sure he’s guilty.

His accusers would say that they are. They say that after a Sunday Mass in December 1996, the archbishop found two boys drinking communion wine in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. Allegedly, he then raped them. Later that year, or in early 1997, it is said that he groped one of them in a hallway. A jury found him guilty last year and two judges in a court of appeal have upheld the verdict. One of the appeal judges, however, dissented – and his opinion contains some interesting observations about how the verdict was reached.

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