Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Religious wars

By Peter Bowden - posted Thursday, 28 February 2019

Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty. Frank Brennan, a Jesuit priest, has raised the question of whether the jury reached the correct verdict. He states in The Australian and repeats in Eureka Street, the Jesuit blog:;

The jurors must have judged the complainant to be honest and reliable even though many of the details he gave were improbable if not impossible.

He also repeats his defence of Pell in the Catholic Weekly


George Pell is currently on leave from his position of Financial Advisor at the Vatican. He is to appeal the guilty verdict on the sex offence charges. Pell is also a political conservative. Anti- homosexuals, an anti-gay marriage advocate, and a climate change denier. He has previously given the annual lecture for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a UK climate science denial group, founded by climate change denialist Nigel Lawson. It states that it has the purpose of combating "extremely damaging and harmful policies" designed to mitigate climate change.

Pell asks "Have scientists been co-opted onto a bigger, better advertised

and more expensive bandwagon than the millennium bug fiasco?"

An outside observer might wonder how Cardinal Pell, a conservative, would have advised Popes Leo X (on Martin Luther) or Paul V (on Galileo). Heretics, both of then, I am sure he would have said.

Pell does refer to Galileo:"We might ask whether my scepticism is yet another example of religious ignorance and intransigence opposing the forward progress of science as is alleged in the confrontations between Galileo and the Papacy in the early seventeenth century." He further emphasizes his scepticism : "consensual view among qualified scientists…(on climate change) is a category error, scientifically and philosophically".

Pell is a hard man. Numerous articles in recent days testify to the strength of his convictions. His refusal to treat gays with any degree of sympathy is well documented. Such a denial could be argued as contrary to the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. Certainly to the lessons Christ gave to us in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and the Sermon on the Mount. And to deny climate change is to put this nation and the world at risk from global warming. Not a well thought out belief for a man of his high intelligence.


Barney Zwartz, a former religion editor of The Age, and a senior fellow of the Centre for Public Christianity writes "he was a robust and forceful spokesman for authoritarian Catholicism and conservative social issues"

Although Pell's actions and beliefs are outside those of everyday Australians, they do not make him a child abuser. Frank Brennan raisesseveral reasons why the complainant should not be believed: He calls our judicial system into question. 'I still hope for truth, justice'

Anyone familiar with the conduct of a solemn Cathedral Mass with full choir would find it most unlikely that a bishop would, without grave reason, leave a recessional procession and retreat to the sacristy unaccompanied.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

42 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Peter Bowden is an author, researcher and ethicist. He was formerly Coordinator of the MBA Program at Monash University and Professor of Administrative Studies at Manchester University. He is currently a member of the Australian Business Ethics Network , working on business, institutional, and personal ethics.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Peter Bowden

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Peter Bowden
Article Tools
Comment 42 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy