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. 

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?