Saturday, 11 April 2020

Pope Francis Celebrates As Pell Acquitted

Pope Francis decries 'unjust sentences' after cardinal George Pell acquitted | Australia news | The Guardian

In an astonishing intervention in the internal affairs of Australia, Pope Francis, who professes to be determined to rid the Catholic Church of the routine, recreational abuse of children by his priests, has likened Cardinal Pell to Jesus. This followed Pell's acquittal by Australia's Supreme Court, for the child sex-abuse charges for which he had been convicted by lower courts.

Pell had been convicted of the sexual abuse of two choir boys and had further charges against him dropped because it was felt he would not receive a fair trial after his conviction had been leaked to the press, despite an injunction preventing any comment on his trial from appearing in the Australian press. He was the highest ranking Catholic cleric to be so convicted and sentenced to prison. His conviction had been upheld by the Court of Appeal but has now been reversed on a technicality by the Supreme Court - the highest court in the land. The court ruled that the jury in the original trial should have allowed for 'reasonable doubt'.

During the original court case, Pell's lawyer, Robert Richter, in attempting to minimise the offence, describe it as 'just vanilla sex' - penetration without ejaculation and without the boy's active participation!

Pell was formerly Pope Francis' financial controller in the Vatican and made many enemies there when he discovered that heads of department held secret bank accounts containing millions of Euros for which there we no accounts, no record of where the money came from nor what was done with it. Seizing these accounts transformed the Vatican's finances from precarious to relatively healthy but it unleashed a civil war within the Vatican during which there were allegations of Pell's own misappropriation of Vatican money to finance his lavish lifestyle.

Following his decision to return to Australia to answer the criminal charges against him and following his conviction in a lower court, Pell was removed from the Pope's inner circle of advisers.

In his extraordinary tweet celebrating Pell's release, Pope Francis said, "we've been witnessing the persecution that Jesus underwent and how He was judged ferociously, even though He was innocent. This declaration of Pell's innocence by the Pope opens up the question of the objectivity of the investigation by the The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the Vatican’s disciplinary department, which was expected to order a canonical trial. It would be quite extraordinary for this trial to arrive at a verdict different to that of the Australian Appeals Court and despite this declaration by Pope Paul.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of advocacy group said this result was not unexpected but she pointed out that of the 78 Catholic bishops accused of the sexual abuse of minors, only 10 have faced criminal trial in a secular courtroom.

After his comparison with Jesus, one wonders if Pell is heading for elevation to the Communion of Saints. Following the elevation of Mother Teresa and Pope John-Paul II it should be an easy matter to find a couple of people willing to testify to some miracle or other attributable to Pell.

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