Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic leader, was committed to stand trial for historic child sexual offences last week. He is currently on leave from his role as treasurer of the Vatican and the Holy See. The Holy See is the central governing body of the entire Roman Catholic Church and operates from within the Vatican City. The Vatican City is an independent state located on Vatican Hill in Rome. This high-ranking position puts Cardinal Pell third in charge after the Pope – that’s a position that wields a lot of power and controls a lot of money.
After two months of deliberation, Magistrate Belinda Wallington ruled, on 1 May 2018, that there is enough evidence to commit Cardinal Pell to stand trial on about half of the offences he was charged with. I rejoiced at this news, and so did my friend who had never been able to bring the Catholic priests who abused her to trial. Like many victims, she could not afford legal representation, was uneducated and so traumatised that she didn’t have the wherewithal to mount an attack against the power of the Catholic church. It’s refreshing to see victims succeed in bringing historic child sexual abuse cases to trial. It makes the world seem a little more just.
Now I know that George Pell is not being tried for all the sins of the Catholic Church, and I hope that he has a fair trial. I want that for all Australians. I understand that there will be two trials, one for alleged offences in the 1970’s and another for alleged offences in the 1990’s. There will be a media blackout until the second trial is completed, so the second trial is not influenced by matters of the first. I’m not sure how complete a blackout can be in this digital age. Cardinal – The Rise and Fall of George Pell by Louise Milligan, while banned in the state of Victoria is still available to purchase online. You can also purchase Test Everything: Hold Fast to What is Good, by Cardinal George Pell.
I understand that the Vatican is not financing Cardinal Pell’s defence, however ads have appeared in Catholic websites around the world, asking for money to support Cardinal Pell. I found this one from St Augustine’s, Maryborough on 13 August 2017.
CARDINAL PELL SUPPORT FUND. The Catholic Church is not funding Cardinal Pell’s court expenses. So that he doesn’t need to turn to Legal Aid = taxpayer funding and responding to requests from people to assist with his legal expenses, his solicitors have a Trust Account that donations can be made to. Contact the parish office or Fr John if you wish to contribute to this.
Cardinal Pell is defended by Robert Richter, Barrister, who has been described by Tim Elliot of the Sydney Morning Herald as “Australia’s foremost criminal defence counsel, feted for his forensic intellect and courtroom advocacy”. I’m guessing his fee doesn’t come cheap, so seems like the parish ads are working. Lucky Cardinal Pell.
My friend and other ex-residents of the Catholic operated St Joseph’s Orphanage, attempted to prosecute priests for historic child sexual abuse. She wishes the Catholic church would have run parish ads for their financial support. Come to think of it, that would help her right now.
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