I think Gerry’s been rooting boys again

2 Mar

George Pell


Evidence given by a former altar boy to the Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse of Children in 2015, quoted Cardinal George Pell as having made the above statement in 1983 in regard to his former housemate and infamously cruel paedophile, Gerald Ridsdale.

The statement indicates knowledge Pell now denies. It’s extremely difficult to prove knowledge (the word of the former altar boy against Pell’s unrelenting litany of denial) but outside of the legal requirements for proof the statement seems unlikely to be a fabrication: decades after a mass an altar boy invents a conversation he claims to have overheard between Pell and another priest in which Pell says “Ha ha, I think Gerry’s been rooting boys again” doesn’t sound to me like something made up to cause Pell current discomfort.

Pell added to the legitimacy of the altar boy’s recollections by stating yesterday that while he considered the Ridsdale story to be sad, he was not much interested in it. I have no doubt at all that in this instance, the Cardinal is speaking the truth.

Whatever we’ve learned or not learned from Pell’s testimony over the last two days, he’s unwittingly revealed just how normalised sexual abuse of children had become in the Catholic church. Furthermore, he’s revealed how normalised it had become to conceal that abuse, and how he and others in senior positions washed their hands of the sins of their fellow priests, normalising wilful ignorance as well.

In this normalisation of criminal offences against children the Catholic church does not, by any means, stand in isolation

Pell gives the impression that sexual abuse of children by priests was merely an irritating and distasteful distraction with which he could not be bothered to concern himself. Pell’s obvious distaste for the discussion of paedophile crimes did not extend to their prevention, and punishment of the guilty.

As is so often the case, for Pell, god’s earthly shepherd, talking about the crime is far more reprehensible than committing the crime. It’s sad that these things happened to the children but he is above concerning himself with it, unlike Jesus who apparently did concern himself with the suffering of children, and made some ghastly threats about the fate of those who injured them.

In Pell’s attitude we see the measure of the man. It isn’t an unusual attitude: feminists have been exposing and fighting it for decades. It’s an attitude that defines crimes against women and children as matters of lesser concern than the survival of  institutions, the life of the mind, reputation and the pursuit of (male) careers.Children and women have been and still are accused of “destroying* the lives and sometimes families of men who have criminally abused them.

Until relatively recently, the deciders of our narratives would not permit many of these crimes to be acknowledged and discussed, indeed, the tactic of victim blaming still exerts a significant degree of control over what can be said and who can say it without risking further ruination of their lives.

Pell is an example of a way of thinking and a way of being that is the antipathy of Christian values and teachings, indeed of any kind of decency at all, regardless of which ideology claims it as its own. He can be diagnosed as a sociopath, a psychopath or as suffering from any number of disorders and the diagnoses may well be accurate.

No matter through which lens you view him, he is one of the sorriest and most despicable examples of the human species we’re ever likely to come across. To commit horrendous crimes is one thing: to wilfully turn your face away from the knowledge of those crimes and their terrifying effects on victims must surely earn the Cardinal a special place in his god’s hell.

 The Cardinal’s interpretation of *Suffer the little children:* Ha ha, I think Gerry’s been rooting boys again. A sad story that wasn’t of much interest to me.






27 Responses to “I think Gerry’s been rooting boys again”

  1. doug quixote March 2, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    Don’t put too much faith in the language of the Bible: “suffer little children” meant allow or let as in “allow the little children to come to me”.

    As for the likes of Pell, like Francis Xavier and Francis Loyola, they want to recruit the kiddies’ souls. To put it a little more crudely, their arseholes are optional.

    Liked by 2 people

    • townsvilleblog March 2, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      I can assure you that it is no fun being the child in this debate. It seems as though Pell’s victims were picked very well by him as none of the 10 being investigated have been game to come forward as yet. They should face a mandatory 10 years for any one offense in my humble opinion.


  2. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) March 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm #


    The sacred and the profane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson March 2, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

      Oh, that is crazy but then Murdoch is, isn’t he


    • paul walter March 2, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

      That was educated damage control and I’m relieved the Pope did what he did because I beleive it broke the unhealthy Abbott/Pell nexus.

      But Pell’s own ineptitude and limitations has meant he looks a prime pratt and that’s at best.

      He has never learnt the slightest about how to handle people or the media because he is an anachronism or least a person innured in crippling anachronistic cultural traits and resulting attitudes.

      I’m still reluctant to want to crucify him outright because he is an example of public exposure of his weaknesses the rest of us more anonymous would be glad to avoid, although not necessarily being much better people.

      I said something the like yesterday and Jennifer pointed out that the man has been responsible for a large organisation and over sometime and to recall, the damage his indifference did. I’d love to see the same thing happen to the BHP executives who recently polluted the Amazon.

      I beleive his stubborness and complacency will continue to ruin him, which is fair karma. I beleive people are right to observe his pitiful efforts to haul himself clear of his self inflicted problem and comment intelligently on his illogic- this process must occur, a bit like the trials of Essendon footy club for drugs- for the protection of future generations. I urge people to applaud but not to gloat at his likely downfall, for reasons of self preservation, because what goes round comes round. To catch his hubris disease is obviously fatal.

      I think the current Pope has removed other high ranking prelates and Pell would be a prime candidate for next to be disgraced.

      Liked by 2 people

      • paul walter March 2, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

        Just briefly, Pell and his ultraist allies have been quick to fulminate over the Permissive Society in the past, thundering for its alleged proponent’s excoriation… the irony inherent in the current situation is so piquant, so obvious..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson March 3, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

        I now think Pell has been rather energised by his time in the spotlight and the opportunity to present himself as righteous


        • paul walter March 6, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

          I wonder if he is a righteous man, after watching him on last night’s news.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Moz of Yarramulla March 2, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    I think you’re being quite charitable about the actions of Pell. He did not just “turn his face away”, he acted. Decisively and deliberately, he acted firmly to discourage victims from coming forward. In a way he was very Australian – he punished the ones he could find in the most terrible ways he could, so that others would be less inclined to come forward. These days we do that most publicly to refugees, but we’ve long done it to Aboriginal Australians. Beware the welfare man!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson March 2, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

      Yes, I think you’re right. That’s an interesting & thought provoking comparison you make, I hadn’t considered it. Thanks Moz.


    • paul walter March 2, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

      Yes, I agree too. That is the smug complacency of the Lucky Country.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sam Jandwich March 2, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    I’ve been surprised and disappointed by Pell’s appearance at the Royal Commission. This was an old man’s last opportunity to demonstrate that he has some integrity and compassion for other human beings, but instead he’s simply dumped on his colleagues, hidden behind over-emphasised notions of structural ignorance, and worst of all has failed to acknowledged the suffering of the survivors, and the victims (one poignant moment in the Commission was of one survivor holding up a photo of himself and the other 32 boys in his class from a Ballarat school, 12 of whom had since committed suicide).

    I’m not completely supportive of the Royal Commission process. I think the methodology of legalistically quizzing individuals in public is at best a blunt instrument for understanding what actually happened at the time, and what people were actually thinking. I think there’s a very good argument for thinking that as a society we were pretty ill-equipped to comprehend what people like Gerald Ridsdale are capable of and how much damage they do, and if Pell had spoken more sensitively he could have salvaged his dignity and helped us all to make progress in these areas.

    It’s not like the church didn’t have plenty of time to prepare for Pell’s appearance. Witnesses usually know well beforehand that they’re going to be called, and they sit down with their colleagues and their lawyers to scour their archives and their collective institutional memories and work out in minute detail what they will and won’t say. I’ve personally been involved in preparing other witnesses to appear… and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to take Pell’s performance as a reflection of the Catholic Church’s position as a whole.

    The survivors are amazing though. Despite all this they still want to sit down with Pell, tell him about their experiences, and urge him to do what he can to make sure this never happens again. They’ve maintained their faith in him when even Andrew Bolt has cut him loose… now if only Pell would grant them an audience.

    Isn’t that a sad thing about humanity: it seems like we need to suffer before we can see what others go through.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) March 3, 2016 at 9:40 am #


    For the record, and as a reference point for the evaluation of Pell’s testimony to the CA Royal Commission in respect to referring matters to the police.


    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) March 3, 2016 at 10:17 am #

      From Jennifer’s live tweeting of Pell’s testimony to the CA Royal Commission, a tweet that is, interestingly, not currently showing up in her ‘All tweets’ Twitter time line at time of posting:

      and, later:


  6. paul walter March 4, 2016 at 4:50 am #

    An interesting take from the Conversation:https://theconversation.com/for-whom-the-pell-tolls-what-did-we-learn-from-george-pells-royal-commission-appearance-51184

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) March 5, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    Just a thought:

    Perhaps even the basis for a connective leap.


  8. paul walter March 5, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    I was left with mouth open after Pell’s performance in the wake of last week- like Al Capone celebrating a narrow escape, off the hook thanks to to the back-room boys.

    His arrogance, in rejecting the proposition that he think about resigning, was breathtaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote March 6, 2016 at 12:07 am #

      Resigning! He’s certain he just saved the Church and his own hide – why would he resign? He expects some white smoke, and he has until June 2021 to get it!

      All hail Pope Sanctimonious!

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter March 6, 2016 at 2:26 am #

        I just felt his last effort, after the hearings had finished brought back all the memories of similar efforts in the past. He was like a sly boy who’s got away with shang-haiing a budgie and let off by an indulgent authority.

        He reckons that resigning would be an admission of guilt.. this is a politician, not a priest. The logic defies description.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson March 6, 2016 at 7:17 am #

        I think he’ll be made to resign when he turns 75 on grounds of ill health.


  9. Mary March 6, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    Have people lost all reason and common sense? Anyone with even a modicum of simple intelligence can see that “Gerry’s been rooting boys again “is not the Cardinal language style at all.
    Secondly for anyone who bothered to listen to every word of the twenty hours of gruelling testimony they will be aware that this allegation was proved to be totally false . People should be wise to the fact that the Cardinal is a high profile person and there will be the great temptation for people to make false claims against him out of malice or a desire for money.
    Such people do not mind exploiting the suffering of genuine survivors in order to make money and/or cause hurt to the Cardinal.
    In America there have been several cases of priests found guilty of abuse and imprisoned on the false testimony of individuals who were later proved to have colluded with each other and corrupt lawyers to make money. Sadly the proof on the scam came too late for one priest who died in prison before the new evidence had emerged.
    Our judicial system is based on innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. In police style interrogation It is a common technique to constantly repeat the same basic questions in loads of different ways to trap or trip up the person in a lie. Ms Furness used this technique on Cardinal Pell together with the Royal Commissioner and numerous lawyers for twenty hours and his testimony was consistent . Only a man telling the truth would be capable of maintaining that consistency.
    Much has ben made of the Cardinal’s lack of empathy. People are demanding emotions to be shown but think about it more carefully. We all know if we are honest with ourselves that human beings vary a great deal in their ability to show their feelings. Some people wear their heart on their sleeve others are much less able to express their emotions publicly. Barristers are supposed to keep their emotions in check regardless of how they feel about their client or the person in the witness box. If you have been trained in logic and argument from a young age you would be used to keeping your emotions under control and not betraying how you feel because you are focusing on expressing your points as clearly as possible.
    The irony is the worst paedophiles were sometimes very successful because they charmed people with their surface empathy to the point where parents trusted then completely.


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