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.
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