Thursday, 18 February 2016

There is a piece by Andrew Bolt

in this morning's paper. (For those of you in Upover he is a conservative columnist and well known for "stirring the pot".)  I imagine that there will be another slew of anti-Bolt letters tomorrow. These may be even more hostile than usual.
You see Bolt has written a piece in defence of Archbishop George Pell. 
Pell is someone the media loves to hate, a person people love to hate.  It is not that many of these people know him or have even met him. They just hate him. 
Pell has never been found guilty of an offence and yet there are people who loathe him as much as if he were a mass murderer. Claims made about him have been proven false but they persist. It is unlikely they will go away. The media is not about to come down on his side. It would be dangerous for them to do so.
So  when he "refused" (on medical advice) to return to Australia from Rome to give evidence for the third time to a Royal Commission into child sex abuse he was condemned even more. He has been called a "coward" in the media - and much more besides. An ABC programme allowed a "performer", Tim Minchin, to vilify him on air.  "Crowd funding" has raised enough for some people to go to Rome to be there when he gives his evidence. They want him to give it in an "open" court where they can be present while he gives it. 
I can, I hope, understand the anger, frustration, and disappointment of some people but I wonder what good all this is doing. If he was accused of a crime, of giving false evidence, of some wrong doing then he may not have been able to leave Australia in the first place. If the evidence had surfaced later then he would be the subject of an international arrest warrant. 
It is the vague notion that "he must have known" or that he is covering up crimes he was informed of in the confessional which seems to be sufficient for some people. He is guilty until he is found innocent - and probably not even innocent then.
I don't think anything is going to change. Too many people have too much invested in his "guilt". Christianity is not the flavour of the month. He is not a Muslim cleric or a Jewish rabbi.
Those double standards worry me. Whatever people might think of or want to believe of Pell it does not help the victims of abuse to see so much hatred directed against him or against Christianity. 
It doesn't help the rest of society either - unless you have some reason to want our way of life to be eroded in favour of something rather more sinister.

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