Thankyou for posting this. Fr De Souza expresses what Priests in Australia can’t express in this environment of genuine Church failures in our country. That Crd. Pell is a sacrificial lamb.
George Weigel comments in the Catholic World Report:
He was convicted. By a jury who should be charitably viewed. He then appealed. It was denied. What if he is indeed guilty?
I have to believe he is.
The Church has no moral credibility on this issue anyway. I trust a valid legal system of a good country over the Church with these issues. And that is sad, but it is really the only choice.
Well, the first jury deadlocked, voting 10 to 2 in favor of acquittal. The second jury voted unanimously for conviction on the basis of one accuser with no corroborating evidence. A second accuser died but had recanted his testimony, saying nothing happened.
I’m familiar with the case. So was the jury, so was the appeals court.
I think that what this decision means is that any Catholic priest can be convicted on the basis of a single uncorroborated allegation, even if the alleged crime is impossible, and defense witnesses will be disregarded. Catholic priests will be presumed guilty unless proved innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. Eventually, the presumption of guilt may be extended to Catholic laity as well.
As was the dissenting Justice on the appellate court.
Most crimes of abuse or rape are considered on the basis on one accuser and no witnesses, because these crimes are done in secret. The jury has to decide whether or not the one witness who was the victim, is actually credible. In Pell’s case they decided unanimously that he was. The appeals court decided the same in a majority of 2-1. The fact is that Pell has been found guilty, and I for one, believe the victim in this case. There may be an appeal to the High Court but that usually depends only on legal issues and all 3 of appeals justices voted against any legal challenges so the High Court may just not hear it. We have to wait an see. Justice has been done. Pell should admit his guilt and accept his punishment with grace. They say confession is good for the soul.
Yep. 1 out if 3…
Yes, one out of three. And the jury which convicted him is one out of two. The first jury voted ten to two for acquittal. But I’m not making an infallible judgment here. I’m just saying there was insufficient evidence to convict. Pell was presumed guilty. Juries can be mistaken. In the U.S. in the 1980’s, for example, numerous childcare workers were convicted and imprisoned for crimes which never occurred.
To clarify, the other alleged victim had never claimed to be abused prior to his death. His parents had specifically asked him if he was ever abused when the complainant had first suggested it to police, and he had denied it.
Here is a report that came out of the first trial, where the jury had been hung 10-2 to acquit.
Which pretty much confirms that any accused Catholic priest will be presumed guilty unless proven innocent, an impossible standard to meet.
In the Pell case, the alleged crime was said to have occurred as the the Cardinal inexplicably exited the recessional procession from a crowded Cathedral, and assaulted choirboys in the sacristy with people all around, and yet nobody noticed.
Some additional reactions to the verdict can be found HERE.
Yes, and yet, that alleged victim was included in the charges. The first victim did not come forward, as I understand it, until the other had died, so there was no one to contest his claim.
That’s true. There was a strangely targeted police operation instigated in 2013 called Operation Tethering which was out to get accusations against Crd. Pell. There was no ‘buzz’ or previous accusations and despite him being part of the notorious Ballarat diocese in those awful years, he has been regarded as a innocent. In fact I’ve posted this article before referencing a prominent advocate for people abused by clergy in the area, Paul Tatchell (clergy victim himself as a child and Mayor of a regional town in the district) who stated:
"But Tatchell, who estimates he has helped 60 survivors of sexual abuse by Ballarat clergy since the 1990s, never saw or heard anything untoward. “I’ve never heard his name mentioned once with this kind of thing,” he says. “I hate the bloke, but this caught me by surprise.” "
True and it was the accuser against Pell who claimed both he and the other ‘alleged victim’ were abused. This ‘other alleged victim’ seems to be a corroborating witness in favour of Pell. You could look at this as 2 for Pell and one against. But of course the one supporting Pell is not here to tell his story. To me the decision looks unsound on a number of levels including the bias showed by secular media in this case.
Again. He is a convicted child molester. It is a losing battle and frankly unwise to paint doubt over that. Soon enough this man will sit in front of a very different judge. And he will account for this and any number of crimes. So will you. So will I. Until that time. I side with the victims, even over someone I politically and theologically agree with. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Michael Jackson songs to listen to.
The only logical conclusion I can take from Pell’s conviction is that the presiding judge at his trial and two Appeal Court judges who dismissed his appeal simply assumed that, as a Catholic cleric, he is guilty of abusing someone, somewhere , and whether he was guilty of the charges leveled against him were not relevant. That’s collective guilt at it’s absolute worst.
Just as Dreyfus was convicted simply for being a Jew, Pell was convicted simply for being Catholic.
I read the article. While I sympathize with those who think Pell is innocent, I also deeply sympathize with the Australian government. In some ways it is the Australian government who’s back is really against the wall. Abuse was handled so poorly by the Catholic Church that governments are stepping in. Governments really should be stepping in! With this happening you’ll never get the clear cut conviction! It will never be clean. There will always be controversy unless the Catholic church really starts to police themselves.