The heart of Cardinal Pell

12 Dec

Pell. Image by James Croucher


Cardinal George Pell certainly has a heart condition, one that has been apparent to even the most casual observer for some considerable time.

It could be thought of as heartlessness or a lack of heart in his attitude to survivors of sexual abuse by priests of Pell’s church. Pell has consistently placed victims and survivors second, third and fourth to the requirements and reputation of the religious institution that has fed, watered and lavishly nurtured him.

Yesterday, Pell’s lawyers advised the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse that Pell would be unable to appear before the Commission to be questioned as arranged, due to a heart condition that makes long-haul flight too great a risk to his health. Inquiry chair Justice Peter McClellan refused to accept Pell’s evidence via video link, instead postponing his appearance until March 2016 when it is hoped the heart of Cardinal Pell will have recovered sufficiently to allow him to travel from Rome to Ballarat.

It’s a measure of Pell’s character that this news has been greeted with scorn, derision, disbelief and contempt. If he is indeed seriously ill, nobody much cares, and few are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Pell is between a rock and a hard place. If he doesn’t appear before the Commission to answer hard questions, his guilt will be assumed and he forfeits an opportunity to exonerate himself. If he does appear, his alleged guilt may well be exposed as real. Either way, public opinion has so turned against the Cardinal that he has become a despised figure, of whom even some catholics are deeply ashamed.

All of this is as nothing, compared to the destruction and pain wrought upon children by priests of Pell’s church, some of whom he publicly supported. Beside this, the Cardinal’s mental, emotional, spiritual and physical discomfort is as nothing.

It seems to me that a person’s character is defined by their willingness to front up and be accountable for their actions and inactions; never an easy experience, but what are we if we can’t or won’t do that?

Oh, and Pell was also confessor and mentor to failed Prime Minister and failed priest Tony Abbott (Just saying). (Not that it means anything). (Unless you want it to). (I’m done now).


12 Responses to “The heart of Cardinal Pell”

  1. AnnieM December 12, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    I have thought too that Pell must be at the hearing to face the music (so to speak). At present, in my mind, he’s acting like a coward

    Liked by 2 people

  2. hudsongodfrey December 12, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    No mention was made in the article of former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law in whose case there are any number of parallels. The 84 year old retired Cardinal, ten years Pell’s senior, presided over almost exactly similar cases of harbouring a number of child abusers in Boston, was given a posting to Rome at the first sign of trouble but has decades later never been charged with anything by US authorities.

    So can any of us who would afford Julian Assange the courtesy of interview via Skype deny the same to Pell? Perhaps we can’t. What may be worse, I suspect like Law that there wouldn’t be much we could charge Pell with. His criminal prosecution may not be the result the Royal Commission seeks, nor perhaps the one which best serves the victims at this time. In the matters of responsibility and negligence however admissions Pell could and I believe should make are vital to reconciling the church and the community to the truth of what occurred. In pursuit of those I’m certainly not averse to serving the Vatican with an extradition request, if only to give them the chance to demonstrate once and for all whose side they’re on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. paul walter December 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    I reckon they cleared Pell off to Rome to save Abbott further embarrassment and it didnt do much good. You can almost mark the deterioration of his PMship from the commencement of Pell’s exile.

    George is a relic from a bygone era when religious institutions remained above accountability. But the hypocrisy was corrosive and one of the factors that led to the secular rebellions of the second part of last century as people called out the emperor on the “new clothes”.

    He may have felt he had choice but to protect his organisation, but the procrastination and equivocations only delayed and compounded the problems of the catholic church and similar organisations also caught out.

    Pell demonstrated that his heart problem was tangible, though- there was no heart in the spot where one should have been.

    Liked by 2 people

    • hudsongodfrey December 12, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

      It’s not coronary failure as we know it but atrophy, or rust.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. doug quixote December 12, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    Pell may hope to be Pope soon enough; he clearly needs to stay in Rome to lobby at the very heart of the Church of Rome.

    (DQ’s eyes roll)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

      There is no way he’ll ever be pope. He has to stay in Rome because if he comes back here he’ll likely be charged with something or terminally embarrassed.


      • paul walter December 13, 2015 at 12:41 am #

        How can the failure to return be seen as anything but a defacto confession? Methinks his superiors in Rome do not want him back here, anymore than local catholics and Australian conservatives in general.


        • suracim January 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

          I doubt he’ll return. In the meantime, I look forward to my private meeting with one of the Commissioners about my experience at Catholic high school. It may be months away, they tell me, but no matter. At least I get to voice what happened. Pell has silenced himself. That speaks volumes.


  5. LSWCHP December 18, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    The problem with Pell’s heart is that it’s the size of a mustard seed.

    He has no love, no charity and no courage.

    Liked by 1 person

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