I agree. That’s why the high court will never reverse this conviction even if they believe Pell to be innocent. And every priest must realize that anyone can at anytime bring charges against him for child abuse, even without evidence, even after decades have passed, and he will have no defence. He will be presumed guilty. This has happened before. Read the book “No Crueler Tyrranies,” by Dorothy Rabinowitz, for some accounts of child care workers and others convicted of abuse which never occurred.
Ok, I’ll set aside our difference of opinion on Pell’s guilt for a second and just hypothetically address this. If you are correct and the government is in this position in part because of the Church and her mishandling and continued ineptness of abuse cases, then who’s fault is that? The Church.
I’m shocked at the conspiracy theories involved here. He is a convicted sex offender. We should really be praying for the victims here.
IF you believe he is innocent do you advocate for him to have normal access to children if he were to serve the Church in any capacity?
I agree that Church officials have mishandled a number of sex abuse cases. That does not give carte blanche to the justice system to disregard due process and rules of evidence. Some priests are convicted and in prison for child sex abuse. So unfortunately, are a few innocent priests who were thrown under the bus in order to satisfy prosecutors.
In the Church today, no priest has normal access to children. Nor should he, for his own protection if nothing else. No priest should allow himself to ever be alone with a child. Anyone can be accused of anything, and if the alleged incident occurred decades ago, it is nearly impossible to find witnesses and determine truth or present a defence.
In Pell’s case, there were witnesses who said that the incident could not have occurred as described. But, they could not say it was absolutely impossible, so he was convicted.
The same considerations apply to any defendant, not just priests. There have been cases of people convicted of murder, only to discover years later that they did not and could not have committed the crime. A prosecutor’s job is to convict someone, and that is what they aim for.
This sentiment to me as a Catholic parent is one of the most dangerous positions to have. If ti were true there would not be continuing abuse. And making blanket statements about a Church that spans the globe in all different forms of governments is not a good idea. There are places in the Church where priests live with children. Have incredible access to children and they should. They are indeed their priests as well as mine. The lie of “safe environment” was probably well meaning but at my parish the laity are put though a tougher background check than the priest who is assigned there.
The worst thing we could do is think for one minute that the Church has taken the necessary steps to fix the problem entirely.
My parish has a young unmarried youth minister who requires a mandatory co ed camping trip to the mountains for confirmation. This only shows that as a whole Church we really are not comprehending the problem.
And part of the problem is that when we choose to think that our position on Pell’s innocence is correct we are then blinded to the reality of evil.
Pell is a convicted Child molester. Those who have no more knowledge of the man than you or I who choose to state that it is the others who are guilty of the crime of false conviction rather than the idea that he is guilty should think twice about any authority in the parish or Church they might have.
With abuse cases you had parents who refused to believe their children and punished them and scolded them because “father is a good man”
If the abuse is a disease, you have to think that Pell, failed the test for the disease. Arguing that it was a false positive and then the second opinion was also a false positive does not mean that we let him out of quarantine to infect others.
Pell will meet his judge in short time. And when he does, if he is innocent, he will be redeemed and rewarded a million times over for eternity. But for now, on this earth, he is guilty, and we should accept that.
But see, the Church isn’t on trial here. The judge made that quite clear, that Cardinal Pell was being tried for crimes he was alleged to have committed, not for anthing the Church did or didn’t do with respect to clerical sexual abuse.
The bigger issue for me is the precedent that this sets. If “credibility” is the bar to clear to get a conviction, that’s a pretty low bar. As a civilized society, are we really willing to lay aside the basis of “assumed innocent until proven guilty?” Because you could be next. I could be next. Anyone of us could be next. Pell’s defense team demonstrated that it was virtually impossible for him to commit the crimes he’s been convicted of. One appellate judge agreed. But that wasn’t good enough. What was good enough was one “credible” accusation. What defines credible? What recourse do you or I or anyone else have if someone has it out for us and makes an accusation.
“When precisely was this?”
“Well, I don’t really remember.”
How do you respond to that? How does the accused come up with an alibi when the accuser can’t specifically identify when the crime took place?
I feel for the victim. My guess is that he probably did suffer some type of abuse. Did Pell commit it? Possibly. I don’t know. What I do know is that this case has set the bar for conviction at the level of a credible accusation. And that low bar should terrify all people of good will, regardless of how one feels about priests or the Church.
I liked this post. Though I am more comfortable with the verdict and the reality than you are, I think you made an excellent point about the entire justice system in many western countries. You did this without carrying a flag for Pell, which I think is morally wrong at this point and certainly not productive to do as Catholics. The only thing I would have changed is one word You said “possibly” he committed it. I think now the accurate term is “probably” And even that I have an issue with.
You made a good point one worth years of discussions by Catholics in the Future. And you did so without defending Pell or his actions.
Currently, I think that most dioceses immediately remove a priest from his duties if there is a “credible allegation” against him. What is a credible allegation? As far as I can tell, it is simply that someone has accused him of something. If the standard of justice is that any accusation must be believed, then none of us are safe.
Do you believe that innocent people do get convicted of crimes?
Do you think guilty people are convicted of crimes?
Do you think Pell and Mccarrick are innocent?
Yes, but how do innocent people get justice without advocates for them?
I don’t know Mccarrick. I know a whole lot more about Crd Pell and the turmoil in even the legal sphere regarding the whole episode from the police sweep ‘Operation Tethering’ to today. From the bizarrely identical accusation reported in Rolling Stone magazine in 2011 to the genuine shock expressed by Paul Tatchell, prominent Ballarat abuse survivor, regional mayor and advocate, on hearing of Pells arrest in 2016.
“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.””
At least, I believe it is extremely likely Mccarrick is guilty…way beyond a reasonable doubt. This casts a shadow over everything.
As far as I know, McCarrick’s alleged crimes have never been tested in a civilian court.
Pell has been found guilty of a crime, by a civilian court.
Whether that makes a difference, or not, on their actual guilt, I cannot say. But I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories about Pell’s conviction. I recognize the courts can err. But I’ll wait and see if he appeals further up the justice system. If he elects to not appeal, that would be very telling in itself. If he does, then I will wait for the result of that appeal process. I have my own opinion, but I will keep it to myself.
I can’t help but believe that a lot of the affinity for Pell’s innocence around here is partly based on his reputation as a conservative.
You can’t help what you believe, but you really have absolutely no grounds for your belief other than your opinion.
Good gravy, are people that starved for reasons to point fingers at ‘conservatives’ that they have to resort to innuendo and speculation and not consider that a miscarriage of justice is a miscarriage of justice no matter what the person’s ‘worldview’ might be, and that it can recognized as such no matter what the one recognizing’s ‘worldview’ might be either???
Why would you think that?
Would you think that if the priest were in line with your way of thinking?
I’m not a conservative…I’m way more of a moderate. I don’t make anybody happy. Some of Pell’s opinions I simply do not like. However, I have strong doubts about his guilt . The case against him does not make sense. I don’t believe he would have been convicted in the US.
Same here. I’m neither “conservative” nor “liberal”. Just Catholic. A bit of a novel position around here on CAF.
I’m not quite ready to say this yet, not having been there. I wonder if the whole issue might be the theory of the difficulty in perpetrating the crime due to the vestments. I don’t know that this was a credible line of defense to pursue. I’m not sure that it is “impossible” to offend in the manner alleged when in vestments, no more than it is “impossible” to go to the bathroom when in vestments. I was not there for the testimony, but my guess is that this defence did not help or did not sound credible. Also there apparently was a “presentation” about the post-Mass procession, showing how it was “impossible” to carry out the offense. It was not accepted as evidence, so it might have been shaky.
I really don’t think that Australia, being a common-law legal system like the US, Canada, etc., is the issue. We were not there, cannot get into the minds of the jury, and did not hear the defence. It simply sounds like they found the defence’s testimony less credible than the victim’s testimony. Perhaps that’s the crux of the issue.
Yes, they can err, which is why I’m not saying what I think about his guilt, or lack of guilt. I’m just suggesting that we cannot simply blow off the verdict, because what we did not hear/do not know might make the difference.
That’s a better way to put it!
On the rest of what you said. You right that we were not there, and that makes in inherently hard to judge. There is nothing easy about this case…
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