Pell Acquitted

George Cardinal Pell

The Australian High Court has acquitted George Cardinal Pell, the former Archbishop of Melbourne, of twenty-year-old sex abuse allegations, overturning an earlier guilty verdict which in turn had overturned a prior trial outcome.
After an ordeal that began nearly four years ago, and more than 13 months of imprisonment, Cardinal George Pell is expected to be released from prison imminently, after his conviction for five alleged counts of sexual abuse was overturned unanimously Tuesday by Australia’s High Court.
Pell is expected to be released from prison within two hours.
The court ordered that "the appellant's convictions be quashed and judgments of acquittal be entered in their place," in its April 7 decision.
“The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place,” the court said in a judgment summary April 7.
After a March hearing at the High Court in Canberra, which Pell was not permitted to attend, the cardinal will soon be released from HM Prison Barwon, a maximum-security facility southwest of Melbourne. Pell is expected to celebrate with a private Mass of thanksgiving, the first he will celebrate since his incarceration in February 2019.
Now, this blog has never shied away from calling out members of the Church's hierarchy when they betray Jesus' command to tend His sheep. That said, digging deeper into Pell's case turned up pretty strong evidence that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice prompted by the Enemy's attack on a sincere servant of Christ.
The facts of the case have been hard to come by, owing to a media gag order issued by the trial judge. A journalistic feeding frenzy has long surrounded Pell, the former Catholic archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney and later the Vatican’s chief ­financial officer.
The trial judge was rightly concerned that opening the proceedings would make it impossible for Pell to get a fair trial on charges he forcefully denies. That order has left Australians largely in the dark. But certain facts are known, and others can be reasonably inferred.
The cardinal’s first trial ended in a hung jury, with 10 of 12 jurors in favor of acquittal.
In the retrial, the defense again demonstrated that it was physically impossible for the alleged abuse of two choirboys (one now deceased) to have occurred, given the layout and security ­arrangements of Melbourne’s Catholic cathedral and the fact that the choir and Pell were in two different places when the abuse was alleged to have occurred.
Pell, moreover, was always surrounded by others at the cathedral that day in 1996. Why the Melbourne police never took the trouble to investigate these exculpatory facts is one of several mysteries in this sordid ­affair.
More damning to the prosecution's case than the extremely high physical unlikelihood that the sexual assaults could have taken place as the accusers described is the simple dearth of evidence. Based on the sole accuser's claims, Pell would have perpetrated the crimes in a crowded church while wearing restrictive episcopal regalia and in the company of attendants. An alleged second victim privately recanted in 2001 but died before he could give testimony.

I haven't followed Pell's episcopate closely, but trustworthy people have told me that he's doctrinally solid. And if he was afflicted with any degree of worldly decadence, he's had thirteen months of hard prison time to cure him of those attachments.

On the weight of the evidence, this looks like a much-needed win for the good guys. Bonus: Pell is now 78 and will likely be eligible to vote at the next papal conclave. I'd offer good odds that his recent ordeal has wonderfully focused his thoughts on both clerical corruption and the folly of trying to accommodate the world.

Praise God for victory.

Captivating theological horror!


  1. I admit to having had a far more negative view of the Catholic Church than I should have had. But for many reasons, largely rational but some a matter of a conviction that simply took up residence one day, I have never doubted Pell's innocence. And I... feel... that he is a good man, targeted by the forces of evil for the fact of being a servant of Christ. Again, this comes from a lifelong and trenchant Protestant with, if anything, a previous reflex of distaste for the distinctives of Roman Catholic Christianity.

    1. wreakage
      The key takeaway is he was the vatoican's CFO. He was also draining the vaticanita swamp before he was booted out and the attacks against him started leading to his arrest.


    2. It's always good to get a read on the situation on the ground. Thanks, wreckage.

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  3. It's very much like the Tommy Ziegler case down in Florida. If they want you in a cell, they're going to find a way to put you in one. Evidence be damned. There are still people in Florida convinced of the man's guilt because the media told him he was. Any proper look into the evidence, however, would show this clear cut case is fishier than Maine Avenue. Darlie Routier, this isn't.

    At least Cardinal Pell didn't get the death sentence in his case. He should be able to take what he learned forward.

    1. There are two possible outcomes with Pell:
      1. He takes this as a strong hint from the Lavender Mafia to mind his p's and q's and keeps his head down.
      2. He sees this as the Velvet Fist taking their best shot and failing. Traditional penalties for striking at the prince and missing ensue.

    2. "Our God is a consuming fire." Velvet burns, as surely as wood, hay, and stubble do.
      I will hope and pray for option 2.

    3. Pray to St Oeter Damian that the Lord's judgement be just and merciful.
      That we tremble before His judgement and throw ourselves begging for mercy

    4. Again, I have only my unreliable intuition, but I think Pell will tend to the latter. He's a hard man with a mind of sharp edges, is my impression. Unless he's on a leash, he's going to take steps. If he was permitted to do so it would go a long way to at least ameliorating my very, very negative view of the current Papacy.

    5. It's hard to see what they could threaten him with after this.