THE first thing to point out about the Get Pell Royal Commission’s redacted “findings” is the risible misnomer: the Commission in fact found nothing – save brass neck – to prove the leftover claims re-heated yesterday. The material was tabled in Parliament at the behest of corona-drunk Daniel Andrews – the man humiliated into a cold fury by the High Court’s demolition of Victoria’s best prosecution riggers in Pell v. The Queen. No evidence is provided that George Pell knew about and/or enabled the crimes of Gerald Ridsdale. The Royal Commission instead turns the wisdom of then young Fr Pell against him in classic Alinskyite fashion: “We are satisfied that in 1973 Father Pell turned his mind to the prudence of Ridsdale taking boys on overnight camps… We are also satisfied that by 1973 Cardinal Pell was not only conscious of child sexual abuse by clergy but that he also had considered measures of avoiding situations which might provoke gossip about it.” The weasel words, “we are satisfied,” are code for: ‘we have no proof but this is what we’d like to believe.’
That a molester could fool everybody – and not just a newbie like Fr Paul Bongiorno (who lived with Ridsdale and says he had “no idea what he was up to“) – should come as no surprise to either the Royal Commission or, for example, the ABC. Both treated Ridsdale’s nephew, David Ridsdale, as a solid witness. Both were apparently unaware at the time – or failed to divulge to their audiences – that he was himself a convicted child molester. Fortunately, the Commission was free to cover itself for that embarrassment by dismissing his nonsensical but ABC-indulged “bribery” accusation against George Pell.
Commissioner Peter McClellan might be a competent lawyer but the Normanhurst Boys’ High School alumnus knows little about Catholicism and apparently nothing about the canonical and cultural ‘distancing’ formerly imposed on young priests vis-a-vis lordly old bishops and diocesan caporegimes. As the informed know, Pell was always regarded with complete disdain and hostility by ‘progressives’ like Archbishop Frank Little and his coterie. The likes of Louise Milligan and David Marr can re-badge it all they like but the facts and figures show this period was first and foremost a story of collusion between closeted homosexuals and traditionalist cover-up merchants in an earlier phase, between emboldened homosexuals and indulgent liberals thereafter. Fr Pell’s career began in the latter phase. By the 1970s, the moral relativists were not merely in the ascendant; they were soaring on wings of modernist hubris. They loathed Fr Pell. He was masculine (eek!), intellectually superior, imposing, plain-speaking and keen to return the Church to theological orthodoxy. The idea that he was part of that gang of limp-wristed deceivers is utterly laughable. If Mr McClellan’s knowledge of Church history and politics wasn’t so amateurish, he would have realised this all along.
Finally, I dealt with the Peter Searson case in my August 2019 review of Milligan’s poorly written book about the “fall” of the Cardinal. Scroll down to “The Searson Set-up.” That the Royal Commission’s lawyers, called to the highest standards of evidence-based analysis, so clumsily edited the longer Searson tale to pseudo-indict Cardinal Pell – in “findings” they were too wary, intellectually ashamed or gutless to act on – is a disgrace. The Cardinal can hold his head high, sure in the knowledge that not one shred of evidence for criminal wrongdoing has ever been presented against him.
AFTER watching a truly excellent ten minute iso-sermon on the English and Welsh Martyrs last night by Rev Fr Tim Finigan, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, I was struck by how closely what he described as the “prejudice, abuse and dirty tricks they were subjected to” – along with the “lies and nastiness” – resemble the campaign in Victoria against Cardinal George Pell. The Elizabethan-Jacobean era saints went to their often gruesome deaths in high spirits, forgiving those who’d debauched the laws of England to set them up, and with wise last words – even quips – to fortify the living (including their torturers). Mercifully, in the Cardinal’s case, the truth won and the hangman was cheated. Justice in Australia hadn’t been quite so deadened and corrupted as it had in sixteenth and seventeenth century England after all. Close but not quite. The hangman, though, has friends. The Cardinal’s unanimous High Court acquittal was a triumph in the grubby multi million-dollar war waged against him so remorselessly – waged not to salve the faceless perjurer who accused him but to kill the Church. His supporters realise, however, that a Black Legend about George Pell has now been popularised and will not be dislodged from the febrile minds that host it – seven to zero or no.