Australian Cardinal Pell Loses Appeal

Melbourne, Australia, Aug 20, 2019 / 06:31 pm (CNA).- The conviction of Cardinal George Pell has been upheld by the Court of Appeals in Victoria. After an appellate panel announced its decision at a court proceeding Aug. 21, the cardinal was returned to prison.

“By majority (2 to 1), the Court of Appeals has dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for the commission of sexual offences. He will continue to serve his sentence of 6 years’ imprisonment. He will remain eligible to apply for parole after he has served 3 years 8 months of his sentence,” Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said in her opening remarks in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

“The offenses in respect of which Cardinal Pell was found guilty by a County Court jury were one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16, and four charges of indecent act with a child under 16. The trial lasted for five weeks. The jury deliberated for several days. The jury’s verdict was unanimous,” Ferguson noted.

“Cardinal Pell’s conviction and this appeal have attracted widespread attention, both in Australia and beyond. He is a senior figure in the Catholic Church and is internationally well known,” Ferguson noted.

“As the trial judge, Chief Judge Kidd, commented when sentencing Cardinal Pell, there has been vigorous and sometimes emotional criticism of the cardinal and he has been publicly vilified in some sections of the community.”

“There has also been strong public support for the Cardinal by others. Indeed, it is fair to say that his case has divided the community.”

Pell’s appeal was dismissed on all three grounds the defense presented. Read more at Catholic World Report

Comment:

This is very disappointing news, and pitiful to see the Cardinal in handcuffs when, more likely than not from what we know about this case, he is innocent of the charges.  A couple of the bloggers over at Catholic World Report speak for many, if not the majority, so I’ll make their comments my own… 

It seems that 2/3 of the Court of Appeals in Victoria wouldn’t recognize Justice if she came up and spat in their faces; as, given half a chance, I’m sure she would. Justice Wienberg seems to be the only one with either intellect or integrity.

And

No surprise here. They were hell-bent on conviction. Looking at what evidence that is available to the public, what was denied to the defense, and the dungeon theory of hidden proceedings and no media, this is nuts. The state of Victoria and its vaunted reputation for corruption and dogging Pell for years in search of a charge…even the OPI knew of the relentless efforts to find someone to set up the initial charge.And to think Pell went there on his own with no credible threat of extradition.  Ends…

Feel free to share your thoughts – but, in any case, let’s all  remember the Cardinal in our prayers. 

Australia: Parishioners Enraged, Assault Priest For Being Too Catholic…

Complaints from annoyed parishioners about a priest’s “brand” of religion have forced the Catholic church to move on a recent appointee from northern Tasmania.

Father Nicholas Rynne, ordained in 2013 and formerly based in Sydney, ceased working in Tasmania’s Meander Valley Parish after “recent disturbances” and a subsequent investigation, the Archdiocese of Hobart announced on Wednesday.

“We pray that a process of healing and restoration of unity may be achieved in the parish and among all affected,” Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous said in a statement, noting there was no allegation of sexual abuse among the complaints.
[Ed: it’s worth noting that other reports reveal that the same parishioners who persecuted Fr Rynne, also detest the archbishop. He’s weakly caved in to their demands instead of sending them off to attend an equality and diversity course  in order to learn all about inclusion…]

The archdiocese launched an investigation headed by retired Melbourne Bishop Peter Elliot, who last week interviewed 86 people in the community.

The parish takes in the centres of Westbury and Deloraine, west of Launceston.

“In the light of Bishop Elliot’s recommendations and following discussion with diocesan consultors and the council of priests, Fr Nicholas Rynne has ceased his role,” Archbishop Porteous said, noting the father is taking leave.
[Ed: utterly disgraceful.  Everyone involved should be hanging their muddled and apostate heads in shame.]

In a publicly-available letter addressed to Fr Rynne, Maureen Bennett wrote that she and fellow parishioners felt hostility towards the priest.
[Ed: that’s putting it mildly.  These nuts physically assaulted this priest and an elderly female supporter – click here to read more. ]

“If people other than our Archbishop do not agree with your brand of religion you should expect it and stop putting forward a sob story about how badly done by you are,” she penned.
[Ed:  this would be the “brand” of religion that has given us countless saints and martyrs for 2000 years, of course.  Numpty.]

“You accused us of being apostates when it is you who is setting up a sect within our religion and trying to indoctrinate everyone that yours is the only true religion.”
[Ed: the traditional Catholic Church & Faith the only true religion?  Where on earth did Fr Rynne get that idea?]

She slammed as “ridiculous” his decision to wear a cassock and collar and hit out at the priest’s attitude towards women on the altar.
[Ed:  I think she means “in the sanctuary” – women would look even more out of place on the actual altar. This one really is a numpty.]

“We have no love for clerical dress and have embraced those priests and nuns who have shown us that by dressing in the same way as the rest of us they are human beings,” the letter continued.
[Ed:  Maureen Bennett thinks she’s (only) a human being?  Now, that really IS humble  Since she clearly lords it over the archbishop and just about everyone in Australia, I’m not so sure there’s not some… er… supernatural activity going on here, a certain “spirit” shall we say, enveloping this self-appointed guardian of her own brand of  religion… But this much is clear:  she’s anything but human to treat her priest in this disgraceful way.]

Her criticism was broad.

“Your attitude to women on the altar, depriving of us of positions we have humbly held in the past and the jerky manner in which you now turn to the people and the way you pray the consecration are all very annoying,” she said.
[Ed:  Well, we can see that the humility is just oozing out of this one, can’t we?] 

The controversial priest had also introduced a Latin mass to the Westbury church in addition to the standard mass.
[Ed:  Phew!  So that’s it?  Phew! Here’s me thinking he must surely have been selling drugs or dealing in human trafficking to excite such anger and opposition…]   
Source – The Australian 3/4/19

Please click here to  sign the petition which has been organised by supporting parishioners 

Comments invited…

But first,  please pray for this poor priest, victimised by a bunch of nasty parishioners, and hung out to dry by his weak archbishop.  

From Cardinal To Criminal: Australian Cardinal Pell Jailed … 

Update – 3 March, 2019…

Since writing my original editorial comment below, I have been moved by the information given by bloggers and the evidence provided by several (not least  the Australian bloggers) which appears to point to the Cardinal’s innocence.  Read on, and tell us if you agree.

Comment:

 St John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, teaches that “…the person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins. For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices:  it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong. (Homily Xl, super Matheum, 1c, nt 7).

So, what is the correct Catholic response to this sort of horrendous news?  Horror at the Cardinal’s crimes (of which he insists he is innocent); compassion for his victims?  Compassion for the Cardinal himself, that he has, apparently, succumbed to a shocking temptation and thus fallen from grace and brought his high office – and the Catholic Church itself – into disrepute?  

Anger? Compassion?  A combination? 

We may hold different views on this – but we can surely all agree that we must pray hard for all involved. Our Lady of Good Success pray for us!     Our Lady of Fatimapray for us! 

One key question, however, has to be whether or not these appalling crimes are doing irreparable damage to the Bride of Christ, His Church. Of course Christ has promised to be with His Church until the end of time, that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church. There was no promise, however, that the gates of Hell wouldn’t come close, and they have never been as close as they are now, in our times.  It has to be the case, then, that in some souls, the answer to the “irreparable damage” question is definitely “yes”.  Some will never see the beauty of the Faith, some will be convinced that all priests are abusers, that the Church is evil.  And isn’t that where St John Chrysostom’s exhortation to righteous anger should move us to action?  But, what, if anything – beyond prayer and sacrifice – can any of us do about this sordid scandal of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults?  There must be something we can do – but what?  

Australia: Priests Facing Jail for Refusing to Break Seal of Confession…

From Lifesitenews

CANBERRA, Australia, June 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A new law in Australia requires Catholic priests in Canberra to break the sacred seal of confession to report a child-sex abuser. The law, which has drawn fierce opposition from Archbishop Christopher Prowse of Canberra, could result in faithful priests being jailed who refuse to comply.                             

                                                                                                                                                                   A bill passed on June 7 by the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) extends mandatory reporting of child abuse to cover churches and church activities, including the Catholic confessional. All the political parties in the Assembly supported the measure.

A  Catholic priest cannot violate the seal of the confessional, which means that he cannot repeat what he is told by a penitent confessing his or her sins, without incurring automatic excommunication. The Catholic Church teaches that confession is a sacrament, a place of encounter between the Christian and Jesus Christ. The priest who hears the confession is merely Christ’s instrument of forgiveness.

Hitherto the confessional was exempt from ACT’s reporting laws; from March 31, 2019, priests who do not report confessions regarding child abuse to the police risk prosecution.

Archbishop Prowse slammed the new law, saying “priests are bound by a sacred vow to maintain the seal of the confession. Without that vow, who would be willing to unburden themselves of their sins, seek the wise counsel of a priest and receive the merciful forgiveness of God?”

Prowse, the archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, wrote an essay in the Canberra Times last week explaining why legislating against the seal of confession will do much harm and no good.

“First, what sexual abuser would confess to a priest if they thought they would be reported?” he asked.

Prouse explained that it is the common experience of pastors that child abusers don’t confess their crimes to either priests or police. If the seal was removed, the theoretical possibility abusers might confess and be counselled to turn themselves in would be lost.

“Second, the government itself has acknowledged [with] the [Catholic] church’s ‘Truth, Justice and Healing Council… that […] it [was] difficult to see systematic abuse of the seal of confession,” Prowse wrote. “People who attend confession are sorry for their sins, indicate resolve not to sin again and seek God’s mercy. Pedophiles carry out evil and unspeakable criminal acts. They hide their crimes; they do not self-report.”

Third, he pointed out that priests do not necessarily know the identities of people who confess to them.

Fourth, he said that such a law attacks the inviolate seal of the confessional.
Originally the ACT government invited the archbishop to meet with the Attorney General to discuss the importance of both the protection of children and the seal of the confessional. However, the legislature began to debate the new bill before this meeting could take place. The archbishop decried this loss of opportunity for dialogue, pointing out that the proposed new law threatened religious freedom.

“Religious freedom is the freedom to hold a belief and, secondly, the freedom to manifest belief in community and in public, privately and individually in worship, observance, practice and teaching,” he explained.

“The government threatens religious freedom by appointing itself an expert on religious practises and by attempting to change the sacrament of confession while delivering not improvement in the safety of children,” he continued.

The new reporting laws will require priests to report allegations or offenses related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days.

Two members of the ACT Legislative Assembly thought forcing priests to break the seal of the confessional was a step in the wrong direction.

Andrew Wall, a former student of Marist College, a school notorious in Australia for child sex abuse allegations, said that while some of the child protection measures in the new law were “overdue”, he objected to its extension to the confessional.

According to the Canberra Times, Wall said forcing priests to break the confessional seal “significantly impinges on an individual’s freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of individual rights.”

Vicki Dunne, the second member, pointed out that a priest who breaks the seal of confession incurs an excommunication that can be lifted only by the pope. In addition, it would undermine Catholics’ trust in the “sacred, sacramental and sacrosanct” rite.

“We need to stop and think twice before we pass legislation that requires Catholic priest to break the seal of the confession,” she had warned.

Comment: 

I have to admit, golden beaches, beautiful homes and sunny climate notwithstanding, I’ve never felt the slightest desire to visit Australia, let alone live there. Now it’s on my list of countries in which I will never set foot.  I mean, the sheer nerve of the  grand-sounding numpties at the ‘Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory’ to threaten  jail for Catholic priests who adhere to a law of the Church which is entirely rooted in and bound up in divine law, as expressed in the above image, is breathtaking.

Would Australia dare to interfere with – and legislate against – any other religion, as it has outlawed a sacrosanct tenet of Catholicism?  It is, of course, a stupid and unworkable law, as outlined in the Church’s response above but it is revealing of the bigotry and nastiness of the Australian lawmakers that they would even think of passing such an evil law … the weather may be sunny over there in Aussie-land but they can keep it.   I’ll not be visiting Australia – ever.  What about you?