On April 6, Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on five counts of sexual abuse was unanimously overturned by Australia’s High Court. He was never guilty of these charges in the first place. The decision by the High Court cannot be challenged.
Pell has suffered greatly and has been the victim of outrageous lies. He has been smeared, spat upon, and forced to endure solitary confinement for crimes he never committed.
This was a sham from the get-go and should never have made its way through the Australian courts.
Pell was charged with abusing two boys in 1996. One of the boys overdosed on drugs but not before telling his mother—on two occasions—that Pell never abused him. The other boy’s accusation was undercut by the dead boy’s account: they were allegedly abused at the same time and place. There were no witnesses to an offense that supposedly took place after Mass in the sacristy of a church.
Here is what the High Court said about this matter. “The assumption that a group of choristers, including adults, might have been so preoccupied with making their way to the robing room as to fail to notice the extraordinary sight of the Archbishop of Melbourne dressed ‘in his full regalia’ advancing through the procession and pinning a 13 year old boy to the wall, is a large one.” That is putting it mildly. It is preposterous.
We at the Catholic League have been defending Cardinal Pell for many years. We released to the media the title of 24 news releases we issued in our defense of the beleaguered cardinal. Our first statement, “Cardinal Pell Should Sue For Libel,” was issued on March 12, 2013. Please see our website for more information.
This will go down in history as one of the most egregious instances of injustice ever visited upon a high-ranking member of the Catholic clergy. Pell is a decent man who tried hard to combat sexual abuse, yet he became the poster boy of Catholic haters seeking to hang any big named cleric. What they did to him is unspeakable. Some were still bashing him after the High Court ruling.
Bill Donohue summarized the Catholic League’s reaction to this story.
“This has been a terrible Lenten period with the coronavirus pandemic, but Lent 2020 will also be remembered by Catholics as one of great joy: Cardinal Pell has finally been exonerated. Those who tried to destroy him—and there were many all over the world—will have to answer one day for what they have done.”