I wish to apologise to my long suffering readers and to the commentators from my previous post. Our friends at Google managed to lock me out of my account while I was in Europe and was unable to gain access to the blog.
With regard to the failed appeal by Cardinal George Pell, I'd like to make a few comments.
Firstly, I really wish to see all paedophiles punished, no matter what faction of the Church they belong to.
Secondly; saying that, in my opinion George Pell is innocent. While he was archbishop here in Melbourne, I used to go the Cathedral--with my young children-- where he said Mass. To the best of my memory, he was always accompanied by an entourage and I find the claims made by his accuser simply unbelievable. The fact that there were near a dozen other witnesses--whom the court chose to ignore--who also testified to the impossibility of the charge says quite a lot about the nature of the trial and the legal system here in Victoria.
Serious legal scholars here in Australia are concerned about the verdict because it was a conviction secured without any corroborating evidence. It was simply the Accuser's word against the Defendant. Unfortunately, here in Australia, our legal profession has been radicalised and the need for evidence in securing a conviction is increasingly becoming optional with the predictable miscarriages of Justice.
The two hundred page dissent by Justice Weinberg is not so much a dissent as a defence of Pell and will be considered in any appeal.
Prior to his conviction, George Pell was continually harassed by the media, particularly by our own version of the New York Times, The Age, which did all it could to smear him. However, the Archbishop did not do himself any favours. He has an imperious manner--I personally think he might be a tiny bit on the spectrum--which alienates people, has criticised the homosexual community, and has been a fierce advocate for conservative Christianity. This earned him no favours with the progressive governing class which "owns" this state and which would love to see a high ranking prelate "taken down". There have been some irregularities in the police prosecution which makes me think that there is more to this than meets the eye.
In my mind, there is a bit of God's handiwork in his conviction. Pell was a huge impediment to Francis and part of the conservative faction "against" him. I'm not a big fan of Francis but I recognise that he has been sent to "shake up" an institution that needed shaking up. By putting Pell in jail, a formidable opponent to Francis is neutralised, the Church gets a chance to reform and Australia will get another saint. I have a strong suspicion that Pell will die/be murdered in jail and then he will unambiguously be discovered to be innocent. It will be too late for Pell but it will go a long way towards rehabilitating the Church.
The case particularly resonates with myself. I work as a General
Practitioner here in Australia-not a psychiatrist--and the possibility
that I could find myself in the same situation as the Archbishop haunts
me. It's the nature of my work to ask intimate questions and perform
intimate examinations. As the law operates here in Victoria, it's quite
possible that twenty years from now that someone could claim that I had
sexually assaulted them and it would be simply an issue of my word vs
theirs. There will be no need for evidence. If the accuser is a woman,
as current legal practice stands, I'm guilty till proven innocent. Such
is the nature of modern jurisprudence here in the "progressive" state of