Friday, 30 June 2017

Charging Cardinal Pell

was almost bound to happen. There has been a determination to "get Pell"  from the start.
I don't know the Cardinal. I have never met him. I am never likely to meet him.
I do know one Cardinal, although not well. He is the uncle of our friend P..., a nun. He appears to be a lovely, gentle man. I have observed him at an event for P. The children at that event were constantly running up to him and telling him things.
He would listen carefully. He asked questions. He laughed with them. If anyone accused him of child sexual abuse I would instinctively question the accusation. Small children tend to be better judges of character than adults. 
I know a good many priests, pastors, ministers, and more. My general impression has been of devout, well meaning, hardworking people.And yes, every single one of them has been looked on with suspicion because of the child sexual abuse scandal. 
Several months back I was talking to one of the local priests in the shopping centre. After he had gone ahead of me in the queue someone else said in my hearing,
      "He's probably no better than the rest of them."
I was appalled. There was no reason at all to suggest that this man was anything other than a devout, well meaning, and kindly man. He had in fact stopped to talk to some children he obviously knew and, as he was doing it, he was helping two of the smaller children onto the whale shaped climbing frame outside the post office. There were several older children talking eagerly to him. They were obviously sorry to see him go. No  better than the rest of them?
The "church" doesn't have a monopoly on sex abuse. It can occur anywhere. It doesn't just occur in one religion either. It occurs in other faiths, other places. Nevertheless the media would almost have us believe that sexual abuse only occurs in Christianity. The terms of the Royal Commission have encouraged that belief.
It is absolutely right that anyone who is guilty of sexual abuse faces the full force of the law. However, finding someone guilty has to be done in accordance with the law and not the media. It seems likely however that the media has already found the Cardinal and others guilty and, should the court find them innocent,  it will be "They got away with it." 
For the record, I am not a Catholic.

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