In which Pell crosses to the other side of the road

4 Mar

Good Samaritan

He Qi: The Good Samaritan


Over the last few days of his questioning at the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, Cardinal George Pell demonstrated the opposite of what his saviour, Jesus Christ, taught about helping those in need. Pell has proved himself to be about as far from the Good Samaritan as it is possible to get:

Luke 10:25-37 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

In his lack of action on the sexual abuse of children that occurred under his nose, Pell took the position of the Levite and the priest in the parable, and crossed to the other side of the road. Pell didn’t perceive it to be his in his job description that he was required to take any action on their behalf, or indeed, to even acquaint himself with the nature of the abuses to which they were subjected.

It is a powerful indictment of the Catholic church globally that such a man is reputedly the third “most important” member of it.

This church obsessively occupies itself with what it perceives as the sins of homosexuality, abortion and still, in some parts of the world, the sin of contraception. Yet it is, apparently, incapable of adequately acknowledging and addressing the crimes against humanity committed under its aegis, on the bodies and minds of children in its care.

I’m not a follower of religion, but the above biblical extract seems to me to apply to anyone, not simply “believers” who imagine rewards in an afterlife. This is what makes Jesus interesting: so much of what he reportedly stated is basic decency. It is on this level that Pell is an abysmal failure, and that failure is compounded by his life’s dedication to a religious organisation founded on belief in Christ’s teachings.

For all his learning, for all the masses he has and will continue to celebrate and participate in, Cardinal Pell has failed on the most fundamental level of human decency. He’s crossed to the other side of the road when he saw a child enduring dreadful suffering, not once but innumerable times. This shepherd showed absolutely no mercy to the most vulnerable in his flock.

He could have done otherwise. Had he spoken out, he almost certainly would not be the third most important catholic in the world. But he might be a decent human being.

I think we can all guess at what Jesus would have said to the Cardinal, and it wouldn’t have been, good chap, you followed canon law to the letter.

28 Responses to “In which Pell crosses to the other side of the road”

  1. Christine Says Hi March 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    Well, after all, in the story, the priest did cross over and pass by. Perhaps this is considered the ‘standard you walk past’ Pell and his ilk in the RC Church and the many other eligious institutions in which children and other people have been and are covertly but routinely abused.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. paul walter March 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Btw, that is a remarkable painting. Can I ask a little more about it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson March 4, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

      I just found it googling Google Advanced Images, The Good Samaritan.


  3. Diane Pearton March 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    Seriously, only cruelty can be expected from an institution that tells women that they are second class citizens, and that their bodies will be impregnated when, and only when the old man in the sky decrees it.

    What madness is this?

    So, when this church acts in any way half decent, it should be breaking news.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. diannaart March 4, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    The Abraham based religions…. maybe there are worse, but none so endemic and influential as Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

    Sure there are good people in these dismal codes, there are good people everywhere, religion is not a prerequisite.

    All week, I could stop myself from picturing myself as a little child and thinking I would be treated with compassion and taken seriously. I listened to this man, Pell and heard the voices of some of the adults of my childhood.

    I do not think Pell is a paedophile – I do know he caused exponential harm by his attempt to cover up the crimes of his peers.

    While my abuse was not at the hands of any religion, I do know how important for a victim to be listened to without judgement and comforted.

    I am unsure how much the survivors have achieved towards their healing.

    Unless Pell resigns and any other criminal clergy brought to justice – before they effing die, as so many bullies manage to do (after living long lives and avoid accountability), I see more suffering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson March 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

      diannaart, I hope the survivors have achieved something for themselves, as I think they’ve achieved so much in terms of raising the global consciousness about child sex abuse and its repercussions.
      I imagine the Rome trip was extremely demanding in every way, and there will no doubt be a let-down when it’s over.
      Pell reminded me of many people I’ve known and heard of. It was hard listening to him & watching him, so much stirred up in me by his demeanour and his words.

      Whether he’s committed these acts himself, well, I don’t trust myself to be certain: so many who seemed unlikely have proved to be culpable.

      There remain those of us who were abused within our families, for whom there will be no Royal Commission, or compensation, or global support, but I am grateful to the Rome survivors and I am glad with my whole heart that they have had this chance to speak and be heard.

      When I compare their words with the words of the Cardinal….

      Liked by 2 people

  5. paul walter March 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    Yes, Diannart, that is the problem. Very bad stuff can happen to a person in life, but you hardly expect to be ignored. You could be hit by car crossing the road, would people just leave you there? Then why leave the abuse victims untended.

    Given that Pell does not like gays and gays were for a long time associated with underage abuse, you suspect his concern has been protection for the organisation in keeping with a conservative world view that regards change as impossible due to human nature.

    If it’s the case he has done badly, because in a bad world an Xtian’s duty is to alleviate suffering and comfort the victims…institutions themselves are not necessarily the end game, even if they have provided a platform for doing some good in the past. if it is intended by a higher being, the institution will not be destroyed and some within the citadel must look deeper to understand the real issues of their time, showing a bit of faith in their god instead of retreating to fear and fatalism.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Melly Smuff March 4, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    Why is it puzzling that an institution that claims a book of myths as historical fact, practises superstitious nonsense, is homophobic, misogynistic and anti science should be caught out protecting paedophiles? These are all Christian”values”. Cherry picking biblical quotes does not prove otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson March 4, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

      It isn’t puzzling to me Melly, and I’m not religious, but I am interested in commentary from various places about how best to live a life and be with others on the planet.

      I shouldn’t be appalled by what the churches have done, I know that. They are as you say built on ridiculous premises. But all the same, I am because it is so vile.


  7. doug quixote March 4, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

    Every religion has its fairy stories and parables; after all they know they will attract people like Pell and like the religious nutters, all for themselves to the extent that they’d carve everyone else into red chunks of meat if it wasn’t for their precious religious precepts.

    The trouble is, they think everyone is like them – conniving unscrupulous vindictive controlling and sanctimonious – and thus have to have their religious precepts enforced upon them.

    They want to control education government and laws to make sure everyone thinks as they do, or suffers the consequences.



    • paul walter March 5, 2016 at 12:53 am #

      Hey Doug, have you had trouble posting Ellis? I ‘ve tried to post on that philosophical essay as to collective guilt and not not only am I on mods, but I am getting a false title for my posts, as “The Authorities”, when my name is Paul Walter.

      Does Ellis prank people this intently, or is some thing else afoot?


      • doug quixote March 5, 2016 at 8:37 am #

        No, not currently but it sometimes misbehaves. What did you want to say about collective responsibility? It is very relevant here, so I will post the link here:

        We must realise that some intent is required, perhaps some collective purpose or the like before everyone can be tarred with same brush. For example, the SS was declared a criminal organisation, along with the Gestapo and the SD; but not the German Army nor even the German High Command, much less the entire German people.

        Pell seeks to exonerate his Church from collective responsibility, with some success; to exonerate their clergy with rather less success, whilst even the Cardinals and Bishops can mount individual defences – it wasn’t what they joined the Church to do (for the great majority) but perhaps 2% did so join, to get access to children.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. townsvilleblog March 5, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    I agree with the survivors, in my humble opinion he is a liar.


  9. just_plain_lulu March 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    Reblogged this on My Daily Read.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mary March 6, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    There is absolutely no evidence that Cardinal Pell witnessed any child being hurt in front of his eyes as your article implies. Throughout the 20 hours of Royal Commission testimony he was unwaveringly consistent in saying he was not aware of the abuses going on at the time. The only incident was a comment by a lad in passing that Dowlan was misbehaving with boys up at Saint Pat’s Despite an extremely heavy workload the Cardinal did make enquiries of the school chaplain but was told the brothers were handling it.
    The frightening thing is the constant repetition of material by the media that has been proven false. Repeat a lie often enough and people accept it as true.
    Again why can’t people use their common sense Do you really think if the population of Ballarat had known what was going on that they would have done nothing? It is far more likely if everyone knew as we are being told over and over again then a mob of country men would have marched into Saint Alpius and ordered the brothers out of the town Country people do not tolerate such things The truth is the children were frightened into silence and the truth trickled our slowly over the years and into the rumour mill which not all citizens tap into.


    • Diane Pearton March 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

      Oh dear, someone still has faith?

      Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter March 7, 2016 at 3:21 am #

      ” …the Brothers handling it”.

      That has been the problem all along, what the Brothers have been handling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson March 7, 2016 at 7:03 am #

        PW *Snort* 🙂


      • Diane Pearton March 7, 2016 at 7:11 am #

        The problem is that the Catholic Church has always considered that it is above the law, any law. It believes that it has authority over everyone and everybody, including the entity it has appropriated for itself, termed ‘God’.

        Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote March 7, 2016 at 8:21 am #

      Yes! The poor downtrodden Cardinal is a victim!

      Why couldn’t we see it??

      I think we should start a Fund, the “Save Cardinal Pell” charitable fund, with all donations fully tax deductible, and for donations over $1,000 a special dispensation and a tee shirt, “Save Cardinal Pell!” on the front and “Pope Pell Now!” on the back.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: