Cardinal Pell: A decision with little certainty [Opinion]

National Catholic Reporter

April 27, 2020

by Gail Grossman Freyne

George Pell is a cardinal in the Catholic Church. And that is where the problem lies. It lies as well in the institution. The two are inextricably intertwined so that the fate of one informs the other.

Some, like Pope Francis, say, “I would like to pray today for all those persons who suffer an unjust sentence because someone had it in for them.” The Vatican News reported that the pope made this statement at his morning Mass in Santa Marta, shortly after the news broke that the High Court of Australia had quashed the convictions against Pell.

The Vatican is understandably relieved that the final appeal of their erstwhile No. 3 in command has been successful. But the church cannot reasonably take comfort from the high court’s decision because, if the cardinal’s appeal had failed, they would not have taken the blame for his actions. They never do. When one priest is caught, he is simply a random “bad apple”— nothing wrong with the rest of the barrel, we’re told.

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