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Cardinal Pell

Written By: - Date published: 2:55 pm, March 13th, 2019 - 6 comments
Categories: australian politics, child abuse, International, religion, sexism - Tags:

Cardinal Pell has been given six years in jail for his crimes against children.

Big ups to all the authorities including the Police who helped put him there. He’ll be in solitary for a while given the risk to his life inside. Becoming a concrete-surrounded hermit from society is appropriate. He will also be defrocked from the priesthood in short order.

It was also good to see the recent removal from the Priesthood of Theodore McCarrick, one of the church’s most prominent figures.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon is also going on trial for massive sex crime coverups next week.

Massimo Faggioli, speaking before last month’s conference on sex crimes, said: “In my opinion, [this is] the most serious crisis in the Catholic church since the Protestant Reformation.” The issue, he added, was being used to “radically delegitimize” Francis’s papacy.

Delegitimising? Pope Francis is doing that by himself.

He is beset by sexual abuse scandals that have been growing for a decade, and are coming to their full fruition now.

I had great hopes for Pope Francis, even though he had a pretty thin track record in structural reform. He’s talked about the “pain and shame” of the church, and deferred endlessly.

In reality the remainder of Pope Francis’s term is going to be spent dealing with scandal after scandal about the same kinds of crime. He would do well to alter how history will record  his tenure. It’s not all his fault since it’s been going on for at least 50 years, but he wanted the job so he should do the job.

He’s done incredibly well in many areas, but he’s defended and fudged around for too long on this. His leadership is simply damaged irreparably, as is the church.

The response of Pope Francis after the great big conference on the subject last month had protocols and guidelines, but no major moves.

Lots of penitence and promises, not a lot of big proposals. instead a list of 21 “penitence points” was handed out, which were largely procedural and not particularly challenging.

As The Guardian notes here, the Catholic Church is a sexually sick institution right now.

I don’t need to repeat the joke about which sexual predator has better music. It’s not a time for flippant jokes. It’s a time for sentencing and jail.

In New Zealand, if the Pope had been a citizen he would be in jail as well for organized crime and running a pedophile ring.

There’s no one single solution to this depth of institutional support for crime. It would need a lot of moves. If I were to really believe in Pope Francis again, he would have to make some real moves, such as:

  • Resigning, and ensuring a much younger and more progressive Pope to start up again
  • Firing every Cardinal and replacing them all with a younger batch
  • Stating that women in orders are so unlikely to commit sexual crimes of this nature that it might be a good idea to ensure that only women dealt with children. Say for 100 years; a proper penance.
  • Enabling women who lead orders to become Cardinals. Nothing unbiblical in that, since Cardinals aren’t in the Bible. Really stack the bench for the future.
  • Believing victims before priests; handling child sexual complainants like NZ Police and the Courts now have to.
  • Removing all legal aid for any priest who is accused of sexual crime, from any church funding source. And not forming complex silencing mechanisms of payoffs and attacks against complainants, like Pell did in Melbourne.

I haven’t noticed this issue emptying out the pews in Auckland, but in many countries the Catholic cathedrals are empty or close to it.

Touring Ireland 25 years ago he would have been treated with thronging crowds. Now all he can do is rock up and beg forgiveness.

Times like this I really do need a little really dark humor against God, so  please welcome Jim Jeffries’ description of God, drunk at a party:

6 comments on “Cardinal Pell ”

  1. mac1 1

    You mention Ireland, advantage, in your excellent post.

    I went to Letterfrack in Galway to visit a village where a Quaker benefactor during the Famine provided paid local work. This man Ellis built a school which was later bought by the Catholic Church and made into an Industrial School run by the Christian Brothers. Over 87 years 2819 boys attended the school which closed in 1974.

    I did not expect at all what I found.


    147 boys died there. I visited their graves. They died of abuse and neglect.

    One day I shall complete the poem I began in 2014. Right now I do not have the tranquillity to finish it.

  2. Observer Tokoroa 2

    “Cardinal Pell jailed for Six Years”

    Do we know on what grounds he has been found guilty, and by which judge ?

    Too often in New Zealand persons are found innocent of Crimes they never committed. Perhaps Pell, in spite of his terseness, will turn out to be wrongly accused and wrongly imprisoned. As I understand, Two Courts, found Pell not guilty. A third Court has found Pell guilty. What would Five Courts have found ?

    What is the true method of finding full certainty in a Court of Law. ?

    Given legal certainty, my own view is that Offending against a child should result in a very serious punishment of numerous years. Not a mere handful.

    The Catholic Church should never have allowed Pedophiles to be recruited. Just as in the Education Departments of New Zealand, Pedophiles should not have been recruited.

    The Principals should be held to account for allowing failures in recruitment processes to occur.

    Finally, I see no reason why The Catholic Church needs to have schools. Matters of Religion can be taught in Religious Meetings and Discussions.

  3. I watched the sentencing and was struck by the constant references to ‘Cardinal’ Pell. It’s rather off-putting that a convicted nonce should still have honorific added to his name.

    I suppose its possible that the judge might have been trolling the Pope by reminding Francis that Pell was as solid and vital a part of the church as St Peter’s Basilica.

    More likely that Pell is being treated with undue respect simply because the Vatican has said it will do nothing to demote him until the appeal process is complete. And, I suspect, not even then. More likely a sinecure in a monastery somewhere once the sentence is complete.

    As for the church, I reckon its tax free status should be suspended until it respects equal rights for women and confirms that respect by anointing women priests.

    In the meantime, there’s one priest whose word you can trust:

  4. Stuart Munro. 4

    Tim Minchin has a reasonable comment I thought:

  5. SPC 5

    Massimo Faggioli, said: “In my opinion, [this is] the most serious crisis in the Catholic church since the Protestant Reformation.” The issue, he added, was being used to “radically delegitimize” Francis’s papacy.

    He is referring to this.

    The cardinals of the traditionalist wing of the Church object to the cover ups being used to lay a challenge to the clerical authority tradition within the church (clericalism) – men abusing their power, and protecting each other. They blame the crisis on sexual immorality in the church and modern liberalism.

    “The plague of the homosexual agenda has been spread within the Church, promoted by organized networks and protected by a climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence,” they said. “Sexual abuse is blamed on clericalism. But the first and primary fault of the clergy does not rest in the abuse of power but in having gone away from the truth of the Gospel.”The even public denial, by words and by acts, of the divine and natural law, is at the root of the evil that corrupts certain circles in the Church.”

    The Pope is emminently capable of this talk himself, but without reference to whom he is discussing in particular – those accusers who did nothing but criticise the church were “friends, cousins and relatives of the devil,” he told worshippers at the Vatican.

  6. Siobhan 6

    Reason for the light sentence…

    “Another contributing factor was Pell’s risk of reoffending, which the Judge deemed negligible. He said Pell’s age, his “otherwise good character” and the fact he has not been convicted of such an offence in the 22 years after his crime factored into his decision.

    However, he acknowledged for a second time that Pell had “shown no remorse or insight into your offending” and that there remained no explanation for it.

    Based on this, the prosecution argued there was still a limited risk of reoffending, but the judge did not accept this.

    “The lengthy period without offending since these matters supports my conclusion that you have effectively reformed and, as I have said, there are other matters, such as your advanced years, which persuade me that you are not a risk to the community,” Judge Kidd said.”


    I’m not a fan of prisons…but the logic that alows white collar criminals to get lighter sentences…especially pedo’s who get lighter sentences, is completely corrupt.

    If anyone could explain how someone who has “shown no remorse or insight into your offending” be effectively reformed?? Why would you ‘reform’ when you don’t understand you have done anything wrong?
    And i’m wondering, as long as one has an “otherwise good character” (read, white collar) what can’t you get away with?

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