The Bishops and Cardinal Pell: A Brief Backgrounder

THE feast day of St Stephen falls on 26 December – Boxing Day in former British Empire nations. The symbolism and timing of that is perfect. For millennia, the Church has had to solve numerous calendar conundrums, many of such exquisite sensitivity that getting the science and sums right mattered to a geo-political degree. Testament to its now global efficacy, the calendar of Pope Gregory XIII has been in use since 1572. No single institution has more experience investing days and dates with meaning. For Stephen the protomartyr, something special was in order and the day after Christmas fitted the bill. After the sacred story-telling, feasting and socialising, Boxing Day dawns with a “What now?” feel to it.

For most of us, the answer is delicious leftovers, watching the Test match, shopping, backyard cricket or just reclaiming mental space after all that family merriment (whether enjoyed or endured). Religiously, for those so inclined, the answer to the same question is given in the calendar and is meant to shock: martyrdom. That’s quite a contrast. St Stephen’s Sanhedrin trial and violent execution prefigure the fate of the Infant Jesus. Tinsel and turkey aside, Christians are not supposed to take their eyes off the Easter prize.

The lack of will to move

Stephen was killed for speaking the truth to powerful men who didn’t want to hear it. For today’s Christians there is surprisingly little difficulty imagining themselves dragged before one of the many secular sanhedrins that order blasphemers stoned on a weekly basis. The temptation to go along to get along in a hostage culture is near overwhelming. For the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, it is also policy. The sandstone seat of Conference President, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, is St Stephen’s in Brisbane. His Christmas Message 2019 wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, let alone the ire, of anybody truly powerful.

“In Australia and around the world there is an air of uncertainty and anxiety,” he begins. There follows a Cook’s tour of safely agreed-upon bad things: “populist and nationalist ideologies” (a.k.a. democracy), “walls” (code for Donald Trump), the “inhuman treatment of migrants and refugees” (policing borders like the Vatican does) and – drum roll please – “the lack of will to move on climate change which brings droughts and fires here but floods elsewhere.” Formerly, Catholic bishops cared about blue-collar workers more than the fashionable big shots of cafe society. No more. Imagine what open borders and a Turnbull-Albanese-Bandt climate-first economy would do to Australia’s proletarian ranks. They would be anthropologically exterminated.

Archbishop Coleridge did mention the “preference for death over life in many forms” – a single helping of traditional Catholicity in an otherwise political buffet. But he didn’t spell out what he really meant. That is remarkably vague in a summary of a black year that saw various Labor governments legalise the killing of terminally ill or unwanted Australians of any age. You don’t throw Cardinal Bernardin’s seamless tarpaulin over such enormities. St Stephen would have named the crimes and the perpetrators.

Yes, various bishops issued statements opposing the left’s “voluntary assisted dying” push and ‘reforms’ of abortion law but their contributions were low-key and sank without a trace. Part of the explanation for this is gun shyness caused by the Gillard Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. The Church is now absurdly wary of speaking out on customary moral subjects, preferring to pretend à la mode preoccupations like border walls and weather are on the same doctrinal plain as foetal decapitations and doctors murdering the elderly. But they aren’t. Archbishop Daniel Mannix didn’t care about the media, ‘progressive’ opinion or even being arrested (as he was). He started two of the biggest donnybrooks in Australian history by opposing conscription (twice) and destroying communist infiltration of trades unions. By doing so, he saved countless lives and – arguably – properly constituted Australian democracy as well.

A Church of two Georges

Episcopal small target thinking in this country isn’t new, of course. Mannix’s approach came to be guzumped by the Gilroy-Sydney school of Labor-accommodating politesse. The remarkable appointment of George Pell as archbishop to first Melbourne in 1996 and then Sydney in 2001 completely disrupted the post-Movement reign of expediency by throwing the metropolitan axes of political Catholicism out of kilter. Pell was a Mannix man through and through and a disciple of St John Paul II – from whose hands he received both palliums. What is new is the disappearance of muscular – or even intellectually substantive – interventions on topics which had always been the core business of the Church. Obviously, John Paul wanted to change all that. Being intimately familiar with how Venerable Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński was treated, the Polish pope must have been aware the favour he showed might arouse hostility from within and without – as it certainly did – but not even he could have foreseen the Stalinist reaction to Pell’s prominence.

Needless to say, the Australian bishops – accommodationists to a man once again – have made no collective statement of outrage about the undeniably rigged prosecution of now Cardinal Pell. Following his conviction, Archbishop Anthony Fisher avoided controversy in classic Conference style – warning Catholics to avoid being quick to judge lest they “end up joining the demonisers or the apologists, those baying for blood, or those in denial.” Apologists for what – the rule of law? Denial of what – an internationally condemned travesty? Going one better than pox-on-both-their-houses gibberish – which is to say, one worse – was Archbishop Comensoli who told radio 3AW that Pell and his accuser were both telling the truth. Which is clearly not true. Though he is known to be sympathetic to the Cardinal’s plight (to his credit), Pope Francis has also made matters worse by attempting to make precisely this kind of subjectivist via media a quasi-dogma.


“The argument from the Netherlands, 1942 … is frighteningly apposite in, say, Victoria but believers there are not being taken away to be killed – not summarily, anyway.”


The two Georges – Bergoglio and Pell – couldn’t be less alike. For one thing, the crowd-appeasing Argentinian is beloved of the world and its flatterers. The pope is also a very humble man. Ask him – he’ll tell you. The big idea of the Georgian papacy is mestizo everything: Christ is mestizo, Mary is mestizo, theology is mestizo, the truth itself is mestizo. Although a banal, sour old man’s recrudescence of pre Wojtyla-Ratzinger relativism, this mongrelised metaphysics is more than a quirky throwback to the glory days of Gustavo Gutiérrez and Leonardo Boff. As Italian journalist-historian Roberto de Mattei points out, it is also an astonishingly foolhardy revival of the most intractable and damaging heresies of the patristic age.

Fear of the mob, then, teamed with post-Mannix accommodationism and a new pope’s peculiar aversion to moral clarity have coalesced as a cultural force to muffle, if not silence outright, the voice of Catholicism in the agoras and opinion arenas of Australian society. The argument from the Netherlands, 1942 – that to protect the faithful perhaps shepherds should think twice about condemning the Nazis – is frighteningly apposite in, say, Victoria but believers there are not being taken away to be killed – not summarily, anyway.

One has been taken away, however, to a literally torturous – some say internationally illegal – incarceration. That he – George Pell – was defamed, calumniated, pilloried, spat upon, hounded, set up and tormented are facts that cannot be denied. The bishops owe no respect to a notoriously corrupt state or its venal media proxies and should have said far more in defence of their brother than they did. They are ensnared in complex cultural circumstances, that’s true, but no more so than Mannix was. Students of Polish history might like to argue that Cardinal Wyszyński was no hot-head and came to a modus vivendi with authorities to protect Catholic culture despite his own imprisonment. The big difference is he did so knowing the faith of Poles was unassailable; a few concessions to make the communists feel strong was a price worth paying. The near opposite situation obtains in Australia where statism is unassailable. Here, a nomenklatura deigns to dole out a few privileges believing its triumph in culture is irreversible. The thing to remember is that modern society hates the Church; playing nice with haters by trying to sacralise their manias (like climate change) won’t change that. Just take hatred as read, speak the truth and punch on. For Christians today, every day is Boxing Day.

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89 Responses to The Bishops and Cardinal Pell: A Brief Backgrounder

  1. stackja

    GP will be remembered forever.
    Others won’t.

  2. dover_beach

    A tour de force, C.L.

  3. Crossie

    The argument from the Netherlands, 1942 – that to protect the faithful perhaps shepherds should think twice about condemning the Nazis – is frighteningly apposite in, say, Victoria but believers there are not being taken away to be killed – not summarily, anyway.

    Not yet, anyway, though Dan Andrews would love to bring in the Chinese system to his state.

  4. Crossie

    The temptation to go along to get along in a hostage culture is near overwhelming. For the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, it is also policy. The sandstone seat of Conference President, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, is St Stephen’s in Brisbane. His Christmas Message 2019 wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, let alone the ire, of anybody truly powerful.

    The gutlessness of the Church leadership is something to behold and parishioners have noticed. I’m hoping that with the change of Pope, hopefully in the near future, we will have a change in attitude and policy.

    I lay the blame on the baby boomer clerics, the same generation that has spawned the pedophile priests, most of whom came of age in the 60s and absorbed all the worst of that era.

  5. Roger

    The sandstone seat of Conference President, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, is St Stephen’s in Brisbane.

    Between the idea and the reality…falls the shadow.

  6. Siltstone

    A tour de force, C.L.
    Indeed

  7. jupes

    The temptation to go along to get along in a hostage culture is near overwhelming. For the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, it is also policy.

    Sad but true for all of Australia’s previously conservative institutions. The ADF, ASIO, the police and now sadly the fire fighters. The main difference being that the government chooses the “leaders” of those institutions but the Catholics choose their own. They have let you down.

  8. Crossie

    The main difference being that the government chooses the “leaders” of those institutions but the Catholics choose their own. They have let you down.

    Say what? I have never had an opportunity to vote on a thing in the Church, not even the organist.

  9. Cassie of Sydney

    “That he – George Pell – was defamed, calumniated, pilloried, spat upon, hounded, set up and tormented are facts that cannot be denied.”

    So true…when I read this I get quite upset….and I am not a Catholic. George Pell is our Dreyfus.

  10. Roger

    George Pell is our Dreyfus.

    Worse, I’d submit.

    The genesis of the Drefus Affair was a miscarriage of justice with roots in anti-semitism, but the conspiracy to pervert justice didn’t set in until the real traitor was identified but acquitted and more bogus charges were levelled against Dreyfus.

    With Pell, the conspiracy was on from the beginning.

  11. kaysee

    The temptation to go along to get along in a hostage culture is near overwhelming.

    Alas, far too many, of the so-called leaders, succumb to that temptation. And then, the sin becomes the virtue, for they provide to us via whatever medium they choose, the gospel according to St Marx.

  12. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The genesis of the Drefus Affair was a miscarriage of justice with roots in anti-semitism, but the conspiracy to pervert justice didn’t set in until the real traitor was identified but acquitted and more bogus charges were levelled against Dreyfus.

    Dreyfus went on to serve in the French Army in the First World War – rose to the rank of Lt Colonel, in the artillery. He was a better man than I..

  13. David Brewer

    Masterly post. Torturous, not tortuous?

  14. C.L.

    Thanks for spotting typo, David. Much appreciated.

  15. Woolfe

    Paywallian:

    Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, an enthusiastic proponent of Francis’s agenda on radical climate change policies, open borders and softening hard line attitudes on LGBTI issues, will step up into the role traditionally known as “the red Pope’.

  16. Iampeter

    You’re right CL. It’s not the Catholic Church that’s the problem. One of the worlds oldest, corrupt organizations, responsible for derailing our entire civilization and the deaths of uncountable millions, and in more recent history apparently covered up child abuse on a scale of sex trafficking organizations. It’s VicPol that are the problem, right?

    The thing to remember is that modern society hates the Church; playing nice with haters by trying to sacralise their manias (like climate change)

    All moral people hate the church.
    But if you support the church then what’s your issue with the climate change religion? It’s a just a rebranding of Christianity after all.

    As ever, you’re oblivious to the glaring and show stopping contradictions of your positions.

  17. Crossie

    All moral people hate the church.

    You don’t know what you are talking about. The priests and bishops are not the Church, not even the Pope is the Church, the Catholic people are the Church. So, what are you trying to say with that charge? That no Catholic is moral? Or that all moral people hate the Catholic people?

  18. Bruce in WA

    From the Paywallian … full article because … paywalled.

    Pope Francis set to appoint Cardinal Luis Tagle as Catholic Church’s new ‘red Pope’

    However keen — or not — Christians may be about the “epochal changes’’ (Pope Francis’s phrase) being unleashed in Rome, 2020 will be a significant year.

    Francis will push on with his political and economic agenda in March when he and the Mayor of Assisi will host 2000 young people from 120 countries to a conference in the town for “economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers’’. Organisers have promoted the event as “an international meeting between young scholars and activists’’.

    The title of the conference, “Economy of Francesco”, they say, “clearly refers to the saint of Assisi, an example par excellence of care for at the least of the earth and for an integral ecology, but it also refers to Pope Francis.’’ It will be about making “the economy of today and tomorrow fair, sustainable and inclusive, with no one left behind.’’

    Unlike Benedict XVI, who stunned cardinals when he resigned almost seven years ago, clearly with no succession plan (The Two Popes is fiction, albeit brilliantly acted), Francis, 83, appears to be a better tactician in terms of shoring up his legacy. In coming days, in one of his most significant appointments, he will install a new player into one of the most powerful offices in the Vatican.

    Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, an enthusiastic proponent of Francis’s agenda on radical climate change policies, open borders and softening hard line attitudes on LGBTI issues, will step up into the role traditionally known as “the red Pope’.

    As the new prefect for the 400-year old Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, formerly known as “Propaganda Fide”, Cardinal Tagle will take on responsibility for the church’s missionary work, including overseeing the appointment of new bishops, across most of Africa, Asia and Oceania, but not Australia.

    Cardinal Tagle, 62 — a youngster in Curial terms — is an ebullient character, prone to tearful outbursts when speaking on subjects dear to his heart, even from the pulpit. He also enjoys a jive on stage at church concerts.

    The “red Pope’’ traditionally wields vast power from his office in the Bernini-designed Palazzo di Propaganda Fide near the Spanish Steps in Rome, from where the Catholic Church has overseen its missionary efforts in the developing world since 1626.

    The office is also set to become even more powerful when Francis implements a major overhaul of Vatican administration. Cardinal Tagle’s Congregation will be upgraded into a “super dicastery’’, taking in a smaller Congregation, established by Benedict, to confront the rapid secularisation of Western countries.

    One of Cardinal Tagle’s biggest challenges will be managing the Vatican’s relationship with China in the wake of the 2018 deal cut between the two states, which effectively gave the Chinese Communist party control over the appointment of Chinese bishops and much else in the church. Under new rules in China to take effect from February 1, all religious organisations will be required to preach the principles and policies of the Communist Party. Several “underground” Catholic churches, not affiliated with the Communist Party, have been closed.

    Even moderates and liberal supporters of Francis are concerned by how events have unfolded since the Vatican/China deal was concluded. Observers are dismayed by the Communist Party’s increasing repression of religions in China, including Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christian protestant groups and “dissident” Catholic churches, not aligned with the state-sanctioned Patriotic Association. Through his Chinese ancestry, Cardinal Tagle understands Chinese culture.

    Cardinal Tagle was the final cardinal appointed under Benedict in October 2012. And as Prefect, his Congregation is expected to rank above that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for almost 25 years.

    A far bigger shake-up, however, which could appear any day, will arise from Pope Francis’s response to the extraordinary Pan-Amazonian synod held in Rome in October. It remains to be seen how the Pontiff responds to calls in the final synod document for the ordination of mature married men to the Catholic priesthood. After widespread discussion, the synod also voted for further study on whether women can be ordained to the diaconate.

    Francis’s response to those issues will do much to shape Australia’s Plenary Council of the Catholic Church, to be held in Adelaide in October this year. The Catholic Church in Germany, also has a synod process under way.

    Vaticanistas are widely predicting that after his elevation, Cardinal Tagle will become a frontrunner to be Francis’s eventual successor. He is known as the “Asian Francis’’ in the Philippines.

    Perhaps. But it would be foolish to forget the often-proved adage, however, that the Cardinal who walks into a conclave as Pope invariably walks out a cardinal. The credibility of another frontrunner considered “papabile’’, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, 64, took a big hit in December when he admitted responsibility for arranging a €50 million loan in 2014 to enable the Vatican to buy a bankrupt, scandal-ridden Italian hospital with close financial links to the Vatican.

    Much will also depend on how effectively, if at all, cardinals and others opposed to the Church’s current trajectory manage any sort of a fightback to turn the tide in 2020. It will be a year of shifting sands, if not landslides.

  19. C.L.

    Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, an enthusiastic proponent of Francis’s agenda on radical climate change policies, open borders and softening hard line attitudes on LGBTI issues, will step up into the role traditionally known as “the red Pope’…

    Cardinal Tagle, 62 — a youngster in Curial terms — is an ebullient character, prone to tearful outbursts when speaking on subjects dear to his heart, even from the pulpit. He also enjoys a jive on stage at church concerts.

    So he’s a homosexual.

  20. Astrid van den Akker-Luttmer

    I believe this is unnecessary mudslinging! Unrelated arguments used thrown in a bucket together creates just chaos and indeed makes everything clear as mud.

  21. JR

    Sancte Stephane, ora pro nobis.

  22. Beachcomber

    ……….. in Australia where statism is unassailable. Here, a nomenklatura deigns to dole out a few privileges believing its triumph in culture is irreversible.

    From what I have seen, the only defenders of Cardinal Pell from within the Catholic establishment have been at the National Catholic Register, a publication based in the USA (Cardinal Pell’s Christmas in Prison). It seems that none in Australia is willing to take the risk of speaking out. A commenter on the article at the NCR gives a perspective on why they are so fearful.

    Posted by Jack on Sunday, Dec, 22, 2019 5:12 PM (EST):
    I remember that a catholic priest who was jailed in the USSR Gulag in the fifties could celebrate Mass with some drops of wine and a chunk of bread while faking to put his suitcase in order. If Cdl Pell cannot say the Mass, then one should conclude that Australia has become a bolshevik country harsher than the late Sovient Union.

  23. max

    Come now. Denouncing the bishops as cowards from the anonymity of an assumed name on the internet ?

    Perhaps we could really bring back the Mannix era and post off a few white feathers to Comensoli and Coleridge then sit back and glow.

    We all saw what happened to Philip Wilson in Adelaide, not to mention Peter Hollingworth. Coleridge himself was investigated for his handling of an abuse allegation just like Wilson and H.

    If only the bishops could shelter behind the anonymity of the internet, eh CL ?

  24. Iampeter
    #3287549, posted on January 9, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    You’re right CL. It’s not the Catholic Church that’s the problem. One of the worlds oldest, corrupt organizations, responsible for derailing our entire civilization and the deaths of uncountable millions, and in more recent history apparently covered up child abuse on a scale of sex trafficking organizations. It’s VicPol that are the problem, right?

    Not only is this a wonderfully written and highly informative article, it has the added bonus of helping to identify some of the useless dickheads among us.

  25. Gab

    Excellent work, CL, although many will not like the truth displayed. You tickle no ears, my friend.

  26. C.L.

    That’s an ad hom, “Max.” You have no counter-argument.

    We all saw what happened to Philip Wilson in Adelaide, not to mention Peter Hollingworth. Coleridge himself was investigated for his handling of an abuse allegation just like Wilson and H.

    You amplify my point about secular sanhedrins. Thanks.
    ?

  27. pete m

    CL
    We saw what happened to fed govt ministers who criticised appeal court judges brought before them for contempt of court.

    I believe some care has been taken to avoid similar outcome, as well as avoiding larger payouts in future claims for punitive damages.

    The appeal decision now under appeal will be overturned.

    justice will win out but the harm to Pell and our community will not easily repair.

  28. C.L.

    Peter, I’m not talking about criticising courts.
    Pell was illegally mauled by the ABC and the media generally for months and had an illegal book published about his (non-existent) sexual crimes. More broadly, he was targeted for generalised hatred for years. He had a song written about his alleged avoidance of court played on network television (also actionable). Multiple reports demonstrated that Victoria Police deviously leaked false talking points to undermine his reputation (and therefore his defence). What point needed to be reached before the Conference issued a public condemnation of what was going on – signed by every bishop in the country?

  29. struth

    CL………………good post.

    Pure cowardice from the leaders of a church that spawned all the freedom and good in the world, …..sickening.
    The movie the Exorcist will have to be re written, where the possessed girl is branded a populist and Climate Denier and the Priests refuse confront evil like that, but stay behind the church doors in fear of tweets from ahistorical dickheads like Iampoyda, above

  30. Astrid van den Akker-Luttmer

    To add to my comment #3287586: The writer “currencylad” Does NOT help getting Cardinal Pell out of jail with his comments. He is now shifting the blame that Cardinal Pell is in jail from the Australian justice system to that of the Catholic Church’s clergy.

  31. struth

    Come now. Denouncing the bishops as cowards from the anonymity of an assumed name on the internet ?

    They took the role on as public speakers and morality leaders, they presume to lecture us, maybe they should stick to the word of god and not the word of socialists.
    We have every right to criticise.

  32. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Of course it’s a witch hunt. Poor George was dragged from hiding, tortured and denied any assistance. Not. Apart that is from his elevated status in the Vatican, his small army of lawyers and his very many apologists.
    GP has had two goes in court and is currently 0-2, with a penalty shootout to come. Very few people could afford the amount of justice GP has been bought.

  33. Entropy

    True, very few people could afford it. They would have no chance of justice from the corruption evident before us.

  34. Porter

    Great post, and I say that as a non-Catholic.

    Re: 8:49 am. Add having illegal phone taps between Pell and Portelli and then leaking lies about the contents to the media. Also hiding the fact that the accuser has a mental illness history (although that has now been quietly inserted in a round about way into some media reports) but you can’t question its effect on his accusations. Travesty, outrage, whatever word you find, these are too small a word to describe the persecution of Pell.

  35. Cassie of Sydney

    “Pell was illegally mauled by the ABC and the media generally for months “

    Correction….

    “Pell was illegally mauled by the ABC and the media generally for years

  36. Professor Fred Lenin

    The bishops are like reeds they bend to the way the wind blows the RC church aparatchiks have always done that ,they go with the flow ,thats why the cult has survived for centuries . Like monarchies preserving the firm .sacrificing a few to preserve the position of the many .

  37. Iampeter

    That’s an ad hom, “Max.” You have no counter-argument.

    Yea we wouldn’t want ad hom in place of counter arguments at the Cat.

    Pell was illegally mauled by the ABC and the media generally for months and had an illegal book published about his (non-existent) sexual crimes.

    Except Pell has been found guilty of sexual crimes in a court of law. While he has not started any legal action, let alone succeeded in any that found anything anyone has said about him to be in any way “illegal.”
    Do you not realize that contradicting your self is a show stopper for whatever idea you’re trying to put forward?
    Or do you not realize you’re constantly contradicting yourself and making backwards statements?

    GP has had two goes in court and is currently 0-2, with a penalty shootout to come. Very few people could afford the amount of justice GP has been bought.

    He also had numerous other accusations, many of which were investigated by police but thrown out. He was even investigated by the Catholic Church, in a truly farcical episode that the police ignored, but even that “trial” didn’t seem to clear him of those specific allegations.
    CL and Pell’s apologists here are just pretending like this is all out of the blue.
    They are doing this because they are blinded by the very same leftist identity politics they pretend to decry.
    Without realizing it.

  38. Tim Neilson

    responsible for derailing our entire civilization

    That’s real Monty Python and the Holy Grail “she turned me into a newt” stuff Iamashiteater.

    But if you support the church then what’s your issue with the climate change religion? It’s a just a rebranding of Christianity after all.

    This is exactly correct! The foundation of climate alarmism is a belief that Jesus of Nazareth was God in human form, who died to redeem humanity.
    You KNOW it makes sense!

    Sorry Iamashiteater, it’s time to invoke the Iamashiteater Bullshit Bingo card.

  39. Tim Neilson

    If you don’t feel like articulating in detail why Iamashiteater’s drivel is erroneous, you can still let him know you’re onto him by playing Iamashiteater Bullshit Bingo.
    Thanks to Fencesitter for a useful suggestion. If there’s any facet of Iamashiteater’s conceit, ignorance, stupidity and dishonesty that’s not covered, let me know and I’ll modify future versions.
    You know the format. When Iamashiteater posts some bullshit, save time and trouble by identifying the type by reference to the list below. (There may be more than one point per bullshit comment.)
    1. REPELLENT DELUSIONS OF SUPERIORITY – e.g. strutting onto the thread and denouncing others as “confused”, ignorant etc.
    2. HYPOCRITICAL SELF PITY – despite his incessant predilection for 1. and for other abuse, he dissolves into whining about other people criticising him (even where all they’re doing is calling out his bullshit).
    3. UTTERLY FALSE FACTUAL ASSERTIONS – no explanation necessary.
    4. UNSUBSTANTIATED ABSOLUTISM SELF-BECLOWNMENT – he issues some dogmatic absolutist decree, then someone asks him how it applies to some perfectly valid specific scenario, and he either flails around hopelessly or puts on an embarrassing display of dissembling or stubborn stupidity.
    5. EPIC BACKFLIPS – e.g. claiming that there are plenty of examples to support his assertion, then claiming that the lack of examples somehow justifies his position.
    6. EPIC LOGIC FAILS – of all sorts. His “existence exists!” bullshit alone qualifies him as the world’s worst ever logician.
    7. WILFUL IGNORANCE – e.g. pontificating over several threads about tech giants and defamation laws without ever once having looked at the “subordinate distributor” exemptions in the uniform defamation laws (despite being repeatedly referred to them).
    8. SHEER MEGALOMANIA e.g. asserting that WN Hohfeld and Sir John Salmond have no idea about “rights”. Generally claiming that the mere fact he’s asserted something is proof of it.
    9. DENIAL OF REALITY – e.g. he starts by asserting that proposition X is true because of some assertion as ridiculous as “2+2=5”; someone points out the equivalent of “2+2=4”; later in the thread, or on a subsequent thread, he claims that no-one has refuted his arguments.
    10. DISHONESTY ABOUT HIS OWN COMMENTS e.g. as in 9, but he denies having said 2+2=5 (despite the proof being available earlier in the thread or on a prior thread).
    11. NARCISSISM – he posts his tired, stale, repeatedly and incontrovertibly refuted bullshit, then when every other commenter ignores him out of sheer boredom and contempt, he announces that the lack of response somehow proves his assertions.
    12. ASSUMING THAT ATTACHING A LABEL TO SOMETHING OR SOMEONE PROVES SOME POINT. E.g. “Leftist”, “collectivist” etc. Also as in 9, when in response to his “2+2=5” someone points out that 2+2=4, and he says “That’s a non sequitur”.
    13. FALSELY ACCUSING OTHERS OF HIS OWN FAULTS – e.g. when he’s called out for his stupidity, ignorance, mental deficiency and conceit and he goes for one of his favourite words – “projecting”, with zero evidence to back it up. Or beginning a screaming fit of hysterics by asserting that someone else is “triggered”.
    14. CIRCLING BACK TO PREVIOUSLY REFUTED BULLSHIT – often in conjunction with 9.
    15. GUTLESS EVASION – e.g. having been utterly humiliated and refuted he just announces ex cathedra that he’s won the argument.
    16. CHILDISH TANTRUM THROWING – when all else fails (or just in conjunction with any of the above). E.g, often in conjunction with 15, he flounces off the thread with a few parting falsehoods and insults.

  40. Lawrence Ayres

    Max somewhere up the page says calling the Catholic bishops cowards from the anonymity of this blog is wrong and I agree. I believe that if you actually believe what you say there should be no problem putting your name to it and I mostly do as in this case. I am proud to call myself a Catholic but I do have a problem with the wimpish behaviour of our church leaders. There were a few bishops who spoke out against gay marriage or more accurately they spoke in support of marriage between a man and a woman. No real outcry over the murder of children in what should be the most secure haven, their mother’s womb. The Pope is a socialist and is rightly concerned with the plight of the truly poor but instead of helping to lift them out of poverty with cheap power he rants against the cheapest of all, coal. The leadership of our church will pay a heavy price when they are finally called to account for their tenure in such trusted positions.

  41. FelixKruell

    That he – George Pell – was defamed, calumniated, pilloried, spat upon, hounded, set up and tormented are facts that cannot be denied.

    Hardly more so than any other public figure found guilty of sexual abuse against a minor…

  42. C.L.

    Max somewhere up the page says calling the Catholic bishops cowards from the anonymity of this blog is wrong and I agree.

    Except that nobody has called them cowards.
    I explained at length the history of their approach to controversy. If a counter-argument is viable, “Max” should have written it.

    One of the oldest and stupidest ad homs on the internet is to take issue with a blog post because the author writes pseudonymously. There is nothing morally wrong with doing do – as the long history of such writing attests – provided the criticisms don’t cross over to defamation or gratuitous cruelty. I’ve been a known essayist and blogger for 20 years and I think it’s fair to say that’s not how I operate – nor do I have that reputation. I think carefully about what I write and why I’m writing it.

  43. Tim Neilson

    Iampeter
    #3287984, posted on January 10, 2020 at 11:47 am

    6

    and Felix and EWMFS are in on it too.
    FelixKruell
    #3288097, posted on January 10, 2020 at 1:29 pm
    Elderly White Man From Skipton
    #3287793, posted on January 10, 2020 at 9:02 am

    The error of logic is known as “prolepsis”.

    Commenters say “the process by which Pell was convicted was badly flawed”.

    Iamashiteater, Felix and EWMFS say “no, you’re wrong – look, he was convicted which proves he was guilty, which means the process wasn’t flawed”.

    The hidden assumption behind their assertion is that the process leading to the conviction was not badly flawed (because if the process was badly flawed the mere fact of conviction wouldn’t prove guilt, and their reasoning would fail) – which is exactly what they are trying to disprove.

    Of course Iamashiteater with his track record of fanatical, Baghdad Bob style support of big government statist crushing of individual rights, might be expected to propagate an error like that.

    But it’s sad to the the other two fall to Iamashiteater’s level.

  44. Gyro Cadiz

    Excellent article, thoughtful and well reasoned. Thank you.

  45. Iampeter

    Except that nobody has called them cowards.
    I explained at length the history of their approach to controversy. If a counter-argument is viable, “Max” should have written it.

    All you’ve written here is clueless, leftist identity politics drivel. It has no basis in reality.
    You’re ignoring this and plowing on ahead though. So it’s disingenuous for you to suggest there are no “counter arguments.”

    One of the oldest and stupidest ad homs on the internet is to take issue with a blog post because the author writes pseudonymously.

    And it’s still nothing compared to the unhinged ravings from most Cat posters, as we are now beginning to see in this thread, when they’re ignorance is easily demonstrated.
    So you complaining about ad hominem is ALSO disingenuous.

  46. FelixKruell

    Tim:

    Iamashiteater, Felix and EWMFS say “no, you’re wrong – look, he was convicted which proves he was guilty, which means the process wasn’t flawed”.

    That’s quite a straw man you’ve built there…

    I have never said he’s been proven guilty. Just noted that he was held by the court to be guilty, relying on the evidence (much of which only the court has seen). Courts can and do get it wrong. The high court may well find they got it wrong this time.

    As to whether the process of finding him guilty was flawed, apart from a pretty severe case of bad publicity pre trial, I haven’t seen much evidence. He had a great defence team. He had a chance to appeal, with a different defence team. Not sure where the flaws are meant to lie?

  47. Lysander

    As to whether the process of finding him guilty was flawed, apart from a pretty severe case of bad publicity pre trial, I haven’t seen much evidence.

    Says it all really.

    Pre-trial is a part of the process.

  48. Tim Neilson

    FelixKruell
    #3288166, posted on January 10, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Apologies if I misinterpreted your comments, especially since my interpretation was the basis for me associating you with Iamashiteater.

    One serious matter that’s been noted is how the majority in the Court of Appeal held that:
    (a) inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the complainant’s evidence weren’t merely insufficient to discredit his testimony but were positive evidence of truthfulness; but
    (b) inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the evidence of a defence witness were strong evidence of unreliability.
    I don’t think that’s quite what Viscount Sankey had in mind when he wrote of the “golden thread” of the presumption of innocence.
    Even (a) on its own is astounding. You don’t have to be a lawyer at all to know that there are such people as incompetent liars, and fantasists whose delusions aren’t as well organised as an Agatha Christie plot.

  49. Tim Neilson

    FelixKruell
    #3288097, posted on January 10, 2020 at 1:29 pm
    That he – George Pell – was defamed, calumniated, pilloried, spat upon, hounded, set up and tormented are facts that cannot be denied.

    Hardly more so than any other public figure found guilty of sexual abuse against a minor…

    This may be where the misunderstanding arose.
    I think the commenter was referring to pre-trial vilification prejudicing a fair trial by jury, whereas you were clearly referring to post-conviction vilification.

  50. FelixKruell

    Lysander:

    Says it all really.

    Pre-trial is a part of the process.

    It is. And pre trial adverse publicity is pretty standard for high profile cases like this. Hard to avoid. You can’t try him in another city/state to get away. So all that is left is reverting to a judge-only trial. Which has its own draw backs.

  51. FelixKruell

    Tim:

    One serious matter that’s been noted is how the majority in the Court of Appeal held that:
    (a) inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the complainant’s evidence weren’t merely insufficient to discredit his testimony but were positive evidence of truthfulness; but
    (b) inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the evidence of a defence witness were strong evidence of unreliability.

    I believe they held that the inaccuracies were consistent with truth telling for historical events, and a factor that lead them to prefer his evidence. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

    I’m not aware that they concluded there was strong evidence of unreliability of the defence witnesses due to inaccuracies. Can you show us where they said that?

  52. Tim Neilson

    Here’s part of their judgement downgrading the defence evidence.

    At the same time — and just as unsurprisingly — the evidence of the opportunity witnesses varied in quality and consistency, and in the degree of recall, both as between witnesses and within the evidence of individual witnesses. There are at least two possible explanations for this. First, as senior counsel for Cardinal Pell accepted on the appeal, the passage of 22 years between the alleged events and the trial meant that there was, inescapably, a real degree of uncertainty attaching to the memories of the opportunity witnesses. Secondly, attempting to recall particular events is all the more difficult when the events being described are — as they were here — of a kind which was repeated week after week, year after year, and involved the same participants, in the same setting, performing the same rituals and following the same routines.

    161 We do not overlook the fact that the two Masses in December 1996 were the first two occasions on which Cardinal Pell had said Sunday Mass following his installation as Archbishop. While we would not expect the witnesses to remember these occasions in any great detail, the first Mass at least was not just another Sunday Mass. It might be expected that witnesses would recall in general terms that day as the first of Cardinal Pell’s Sunday Masses. But, on the critical issue of whether Cardinal Pell stood on the steps of the Cathedral on the day of the first or second Mass, and if so for how long, the recollection of the opportunity witnesses must necessarily be affected by their recollection of the ritual that developed thereafter.

    A presumption that what they said can’t be accurate.

  53. FelixKruell

    Tim:

    That’s a fair way short of:

    (b) inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the evidence of a defence witness were strong evidence of unreliability.

    Neither is it a presumption that their statement can’t be accurate. Their point seems to be that their recollection of a ritual on a particular day will be impacted by that ritual having been repeated in substantially similar ways every week for years. Again, sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  54. Lee

    One serious matter that’s been noted is how the majority in the Court of Appeal held that:
    (a) inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the complainant’s evidence weren’t merely insufficient to discredit his testimony but were positive evidence of truthfulness; but
    (b) inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the evidence of a defence witness were strong evidence of unreliability.

    What defendant would stand any chance in court against such inane, illogical reasoning and double standards?

  55. dover_beach

    Their point seems to be that their recollection of a ritual on a particular day will be impacted by that ritual having been repeated in substantially similar ways every week for years. Again, sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    You’ve made this point before but never explained why a departure from the normal case would not be more likely to be recollected precisely because it is a departure. This is further muddied when we have the statement of another witness not merely reporting a ‘ritual’ but introducing their mother to the newly appointed Archbishop at the west door which can’t be erased as simply a conflation of something “repeated in substantially similar ways every week for years”.

  56. max

    I explained at length the history of their approach to controversy. If a counter-argument is viable, “Max” should have written it.

    There is no appetite for it. No support. It’s all the other way. Shut up and take your medicine.

    Coleridge is a very bright fellow and certainly not a coward. So, too for Anthony Fisher. Not sure about Comensoli. But there is no appetite for a fight with their parishioners and fellow clergy, not to mention to have to wake up every morning and hear the attacks and denunciations on the ABC and the Macquarie stations. Then to walk out to the front of your cathedral and see placards and ribbons hung everywhere.

    For why ? Everyone paints you as a supporter of clergy sex abusers and a bringer of pain to the poor ‘victims’. Whose side are you on ? The side of justice, you say, but how can that be.

    ‘They have compass’d me, compass’d me about’: say anything and your words will be twisted into a falsehood.

    I’m sure the Cardinal will be vindicated later this year but that will be a technicality for most.

    Even Mannix in full lofty scornful mode would struggle to be heard above the baying of the media and the activist groups abetted by the increasingly wealthy Viv Waller.

    Your point, CL, that there has been a miscarriage of justice and that an innocent, courageous man is suffering is unanswerable. But most people don’t see it that way: the cause of justice is with the victims and against the bishops and the Cardinal.

    Your post called for the bishops to speak out but it is impossible for them to get a fair hearing anywhere in the media, the courts or the public square especially when up against the likes of the deadly Chrissie Foster. Better to wait for the final appeal and pray.

  57. max

    Shut up and take your medicine.

    Oops. Not directed at you, CL.

  58. Iampeter

    A presumption that what they said can’t be accurate.

    That’s the exact opposite of what’s actually being presumed in the two paragraphs you quoted.
    You should probably read more than just the bolded bits…

  59. C.L.

    Thanks for your post, Max.

    Coleridge is a very bright fellow and certainly not a coward.

    Nobody has called him a coward. His Xmas/NY message was political malarkey.

    I’m sure the Cardinal will be vindicated later this year but that will be a technicality for most.

    Being innocent is not a “technicality.”

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  62. FelixKruell

    Dover:

    You’ve made this point before but never explained why a departure from the normal case would not be more likely to be recollected precisely because it is a departure.

    Because there will be different departures from the ritual most weeks – most small, some larger. We tend to gloss over them over time. Think about your ritual when you wake up, or get into the office, or get home at night – from 20 years ago. You’ll likely remember the order in which you did things…most of the time. The variances will rarely stand out.

  63. Tim Neilson

    The variances will rarely stand out.

    Seriously?
    The newly installed Archbishop NOT being at the entrance wouldn’t have stood out?

    As for whether the paragraphs indicate a presumption of unreliability drawn from minor inaccuracies etc., they paragraphs seem to me to move clearly from a finding of “variable quality” to an insistence that the evidence about the day in question “must necessarily” have been clouded as to a crucial issue by subsequent occasions. It seems to me clearly to involve invoking the first to justify the second.

    PS Iamashiteater, if you want to set out your reasoning on what the paragraphs say in detail for examination please do so.

  64. notafan

    The Catholic church is not a cult, is not a firm.

    It is the universal church with a structure set in place by Christ himself to preserve the deposit of faith, and despite all the weaknesses of sinful man, by the power of the Holy Spirit she has survived 2000 years, many in great adversity, so that men might know God.

    I went to early mass in the cathedral in Barcelona the other day and an elderly man collapsed.

    As mass ended ambulance officers were wheeling him out on a chair but when they got to the steps he got up and walked down.

    He was so old and so frail but still the love of Christ in the Eucharist took him up those steep steps early on that cold morning.

    He and those like him, are the Church.

    Clearly too many of you don’t get it.

    Spineless Australian bishops aside.

    Lovely piece CL.

  65. Entropy

    It is the universal church with a structure set in place by Christ himself to preserve the deposit of faith, and despite all the weaknesses of sinful man, by the power of the Holy Spirit she has survived 2000 years, many in great adversity, so that men might know God.

    Really? And here I was thinking that after nearly three hundred years of persecuting christians, in 380 by decree the Roman Empire converted the entire state into the new official state religion known as the Roman Catholic Church.

    But I get your broader point. And most of the modern Christian churches seem to be infested by careerists like these bishops. You have to wonder if they actually believe in God and that Jesus was the son of god who died for everyone’s sins and rose from the grave. I suspect they are actually frauds.

  66. dover_beach

    Because there will be different departures from the ritual most weeks – most small, some larger. We tend to gloss over them over time. Think about your ritual when you wake up, or get into the office, or get home at night – from 20 years ago. You’ll likely remember the order in which you did things…most of the time. The variances will rarely stand out.

    Really, people would not recall a complete departure from attending the West door? People would not recall having to leave the Archbishop unattended in the first weeks of his appointment alone for some significant reason? People would not recall seeing the sacristy door left both unlocked and open? And so on. Sure sure.

  67. Iampeter

    You have to wonder if they actually believe in God and that Jesus was the son of god who died for everyone’s sins and rose from the grave. I suspect they are actually frauds.

    If they actually believed any of that then we would be back in the Dark Ages.
    The fact that they are frauds is a good thing.

  68. FelixKruell

    Tim:

    Seriously?
    The newly installed Archbishop NOT being at the entrance wouldn’t have stood out?

    20 years later? When he missed say a few each year? It’s certainly possible…

    As for whether the paragraphs indicate a presumption of unreliability drawn from minor inaccuracies etc., they paragraphs seem to me to move clearly from a finding of “variable quality” to an insistence that the evidence about the day in question “must necessarily” have been clouded as to a crucial issue by subsequent occasions. It seems to me clearly to involve invoking the first to justify the second.

    They weighed up conflicting evidence by different witnesses. They showed what factors they took into account. All relevant factors. They preferred a witness account about a single, key, life impacting event over several witness accounts about a single event in a long line of similar (but not identical) events which those witnesses did not know at the time was a key event.

  69. Gab

    Reminds me of the case of Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian (October 27, 1941 – September 11, 2013).

    An African-American pulpwood worker from Monroeville, Alabama, who was wrongly convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death. His conviction was wrongfully obtained, based on police coercion and perjury.

  70. FelixKruell

    Dover:

    Really, people would not recall a complete departure from attending the West door? People would not recall having to leave the Archbishop unattended in the first weeks of his appointment alone for some significant reason? People would not recall seeing the sacristy door left both unlocked and open? And so on. Sure sure.

    Yep. Again, apply it to your own rituals.

  71. JC

    Kruell, you imbecile. The options were not binary although the outcome would have been. The jury had the options of:
    1. believing the single victim’s account
    2. not believing the single witness account and accepting the defense’s claims.
    3. realizing it was a very long time and no decision could be reached and therefore acquit.

    You’re such a biased dickhead.

  72. They weighed up conflicting evidence by different witnesses. They showed what factors they took into account. All relevant factors.

    LOL

    Not this shit again.

    The police and prosecution conveniently forgot exculpatory witnesses who are livid about not being given a voice. The cops also gave “J” a pass and allowed to retell his story with more refined lies at least three times.

    Also remember evidence was given, which included a dodgy, doctored phone tap which was taken out of context with ridiculous jumpcuts to imply Pell did something wrong.

  73. FelixKruell

    JC:

    The options were not binary although the outcome would have been.

    When in conflict, they are binary. You have to prefer one set of evidence or the other. As the Court noted, they can’t both be true.

  74. FelixKruell

    Frank:

    Lovely conspiracy theory you have there. Completely irrelevant to the point, but still lovely.

  75. Nothing I have said is untrue Felix.

    You’re the crackpot here, champion.

  76. FelixKruell

    Frank:

    Nothing I have said is untrue Felix.

    Sure…

    The police and prosecution conveniently forgot exculpatory witnesses who are livid about not being given a voice.

    I rest my case.

  77. JC

    Kruell

    You’re a first class idiot. Go away.

  78. dover_beach

    Yep. Again, apply it to your own rituals.

    I have, that is why your claim is not credible. And when it concerns the habits or rituals of others, the same is true. The varience is memorable, such as your father not taking his seat at the head of the table because a guest has. Or someone having coffee when they normally drink tea.

  79. Old School Conservative

    GP has had two goes in court and is currently 0-2,

    Wrong.
    GP has had three goes in court and is currently 1-2,

  80. FelixKruell

    Dover:

    I have, that is why your claim is not credible. And when it concerns the habits or rituals of others, the same is true. The varience is memorable, such as your father not taking his seat at the head of the table because a guest has. Or someone having coffee when they normally drink tea.

    I’m willing to bet you’ve forgotten a bunch of tines your father didn’t take his usual seat 20 (or more) odd years ago..

  81. FelixKruell

    JC:

    I’ll take the ‘first class’ as meaning I’ve gone up in your esteem? You don’t know how much this means to me. [weeps].

  82. Iampeter

    You’re such a biased dickhead.

    LOL!

    You’re a first class idiot. Go away.

    What was all that you were saying about ad hominem again, CL?

  83. JC

    Here we are, the Bobbsey twins.
    Plodes, the one trick pony criticising others about the use of ad homs. All he ever does at the Cat.

    Kruell:

    Sure thing do that. Continue hallucinating.

  84. Leo G

    What was all that you were saying about ad hominem again, CL?

    An insult is not necessarily ad hominem, nor fallacy.

  85. dover_beach

    I’m willing to bet you’ve forgotten a bunch of tines your father didn’t take his usual seat 20 (or more) odd years ago..

    Nope, and I can recall who sat in his chair.

  86. Iampeter

    Plodes, the one trick pony criticising others about the use of ad homs. All he ever does at the Cat.

    LOL!

    An insult is not necessarily ad hominem, nor fallacy.

    Yes I know. I’ve had to explain it a few times to the dishonest nimrods at the Cat falsely accusing me of ad hominem.

  87. FelixKruell

    Dover:

    Nope, and I can recall who sat in his chair.

    Suggest you compare your answer with other family members, and see if any have a different recollection.

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