Australia’s Cardinal Law?

Cardinal Pell.jpg The archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, often fills the role for the Catholic Church “Down Under” that Cardinal Bernard Law once did in Boston for the U.S. church: that is, a trenchant voice for “orthodoxy” and the commanding face of the hierarchical church, a man who could alienate many inside the church and out, including many of his fellow bishops–though he would never disappoint Rome.
Now Pell may have something else in common with Law, in light of the ABC News (Australia) reports of his recent failings regarding an abusive priest and his victims. Grant Gallicho at dotCommonweal has the story here, but in brief: Pell wrote to a sexual abuse victim who had complained about a priest, Fr. Terence Goodall, who he said had sexually abused him. The man, Anthony Jones, said he was 29 at the time of the alleged rape, in 1982, and not underage. Pell said Goodall denied the charges, and Pell said he was dismissing the alleged victim’s complaint because he had no other reports of wrongdoing by Goodall. Except that Pell had another complaint against Goodall, and that same day wrote to another Goodall victim–who was a minor at the time of the assault–to acknowledge the charges. And, just three weeks earlier Pell’s own internal investigator urged him to accept the victims’ allegations.
WORSE STILL, ABC News got hold of documents showing that Goodall admitted to Pell that he had sexually abused a sixteen-year-old girl, and that contrary to Pell’s public assertion, Goodall was still acting publicly as a priest at least a year after he admitted to two complaints of sexual contact with a man and a boy.
Pell doesn’t come off well in this ABC report, defending his absolution of the priest to the victim this way: “That was poorly put. I was attempting to inform him that there was no other allegation of rape,” he said. “The incidents were run together. That was done badly.” Pell’s complaint that the man’s demand for $3.5 million was “excessive” doesn’t help matters much.
Here is the latest revelation from ABC and a Herald Sun story. All this is via the invaluable AbuseTracker.
All this comes just days before Pope Benedict arrives for World Youth Day, the church’s chance to burnish its reputation amid declining mass attendance and other problems. The event has already been plagued by low attendance and myriad other problems, and Pell’s missteps are not likely to help.
Last month Pell told Sky News that it would be appropriate for Pope Benedict XVI to voice regret for the clerical sex-abuse scandal during his visit. “I’m not expecting him to make any dramatic statements,” the cardinal told Sky News. But he added: “Certainly there’s plenty for which we’re not proud.”
As often happens, the cardinal speaks volumes. One should also note that Pell led the charge against his former auxiliary, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson (now retired), whose book on the abuse crisis and reforming the church I wrote about here. Pell may want to give it a read, too, I think.

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Ed Gleason

posted July 8, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Are any basilicas in Rome in need of staffing?
C.Pell like C.Law is a proud conservative as were most of the more flagrant cover-up bishops. It sems that once haughty conservatives have melded into save the Church rep above all costs.. Bella Figura is how Bishop Robinson described that kind of stance. Having had lunch with B. Robinson who was trained in Rome, my impression; he was very conservative until he took over the Australian bishops abuse committee and got whiplashed by his peers.It’s only in the trenches that one finds out if he has any guts. see Peter at John18;25-27

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posted July 9, 2008 at 12:15 pm

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”””

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posted July 15, 2008 at 7:11 pm

So, what else is new? Reports about bad and disgusting behavior on the part of Catholic priests is nothing new because we have read them many times before. The only difference is the location. This one is coming out of Australia which goes to show that wherever there are Catholic priests, there will always be sexual pedators.Since Catholicism is all over the world, we can expect to hear from other countries too!
These kinds of perversion on the part of members of the Catholic clergy has been going on almost at the beginning of the papacy. Any history of the Catholic church can vouch for these abominable activities of the men who claim to be godly and act like “godly” men,in fact they call themselves “Vicars” of Christ yet in their hearts they are really evil. One has to be evil to commit the kinds of atrocities some members of the Catholic clergy have been caught doing.
Popes themselves were models of this kind of despicable behavior (I can name dozens of them. Some even flaunted their perversity shamelessly in public! From my own research, I can say that what is happening now is nothing short of an offshoot or expected result of the example that was set in the past.

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posted July 17, 2008 at 5:52 am

there are many fine clergy and parents in our church that do so much for the world , when you listen to the victims on tv ,I had a good relationship with my children and dealt with every issue in there lives every day before we went to bed . If there was any abuse from any member of the community , I dealt with it imediately and gave follow up support until my family was working in harmony . I can not understand how any parent would not notice something was wrong to allow 2 children to be abused, surely the parents must take responsiblity . I keep a close eye on my children to make sure they washed behind the ears and brushed their teeth and I would have been asking questions about unusual bruises etc. I do have a very deep compassion for victims and will continue to pray for them.

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