“‘Implausible’ and ‘extraordinary’ they called his evidence. But Pell’s greatest opponent was history, adroitly commanded as it was by Counsel Gail Furness. ”
The remarkable part of George Pell’s royal commission testimony is not its insensitivity but what it asks people to believe.
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16. (Bonus point: eight.)
“Cardinal George Pell yesterday uttered words that will stain his reputation forever.”
The News Corp columnist, writing on Tuesday, condemns Pell for telling the royal commission he wasn’t animated by child abuse in the diocese where he was episcopal vicar for education.
“It’s a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me … I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated.”
The cardinal casually dismisses Australia’s worst paedophile, Gerald Ridsdale, who abused more than 50 children over 30 years, his crimes hidden by the church. His confusion of interest with responsibility is staggering.
“Yesterday, surrendering to fear, I did yell with the rest – the rest of that pitiless pack called journalists. My God, it was sweet.”
The News Corp columnist, writing on Wednesday, about the brief joy of practising journalism rather than defending the church and its appalling handling of child abuse.
“For one giddy day I felt the joy of being a David Marr or Robert Manne, praised for the fury of my sanctimonious denunciation of a man.”
The News Corp columnist says he condemned Pell after realising he might be left his only defender. “You fear: what if Pell is indeed proved evil? How terrible for your reputation to have covered for him.”
“People had a different attitude then … The boy wasn’t asking me to do anything about it but just lamenting and mentioning it.”
The cardinal explains why he didn’t act when a child told him of sexual abuse by a priest. Attitudes must have been quite different: soulless, indifferent to the ruin of young lives, happy to leave children responsible for their own abuse.
“The brief sunshine of approval of yesterday is already overcast with a Twitter storm.”
The News Corp columnist crawls back to his bizarre defence of a man who by his own admission did nothing to protect children from rape, his brief foray into impartiality behind him.