Sad Demise of an ‘Anti-Gay’ Australian Cardinal

A powerful & anti-gay Catholic cardinal was just found guilty of raping 2 teen boys

By Alex Bollinger · Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Australian Cardinal George Pell, now Vatican finance chief, in 2012.


Australian Cardinal George Pell, now Vatican finance chief, in 2012. Wikimedia Commons

One of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two underage boys.

Cardinal George Pell, the former Archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney and the treasurer of the Vatican, was found guilty on one charge of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 and four counts of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16.

One of the victims testified about the events that took place in December of 1996. The victims were 13-years-old choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, and the two sneaked into the priests’ sacristy and drank some wine.

Pell, who was then Archbishop, found them and told them they were in trouble. He exposed himself and forced them to perform oral sex on him. Then, the victim said, he masturbated them and himself.

Related: Catholic cardinals say rampant sex abuse in church isn’t clergy’s fault & blame ‘homosexual agenda’

A month later, the victim said that Pell pushed him against a wall and grabbed his genitals.

The victim said that Pell “emanated an air of being a powerful person,” and he was worried about losing his scholarship to a Catholic school if he spoke out.

The other victim died in 2014 from a heroin overdose.

Years after he raped the two boys, Pell became one of Australia’s most prominent anti-gay voices. In 2002, he denied communion to gays and lesbians.

“God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, and important consequences come from this,” he said at the time.

“Our Judeo-Christian religious tradition allows men and women sexual expression within the bounds of family life, a sexuality which is life-giving,” Pell said.

“Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life.”

In 2012, he spoke out against marriage equality, saying that it would harm children.

Pell was a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an ideological body within the Catholic Church that has long attacked LGBTQ equality.

Pell, who is the third most senior person in the Vatican, put together an all-star legal team, including one of Australia’s most expensive defense attorneys, Robert Richter.

Several of the witnesses had trouble recalling events from over 20 years ago. Still, the jury unanimously believed the victim’s testimony and returned five guilty verdicts.

Sexual abuse survivors gathered outside the courthouse in Melbourne to jeer Pell as he was taken to a car.

“You’re going to burn in hell. Burn in hell, Pell,” one said.

The victim, who cannot be named in the media, said that he has suffered “shame, loneliness, depression” since the abuse.

His lawyer said that he maintains his innocence and that he plans to appeal.

Pope Francis has yet to comment on the conviction.

Update: A Vatican spokesperson said that the church will take no action on the case until Pell’s appeals have been exhausted.

“We reiterate the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities,” the spokesperson said.

“In this respect, we now await the outcome of the appeal process, recalling that Cardinal Pell has reiterated his innocence and has the right to defend himself to the last degree.”

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Perhaps one of the greatest problems for the Church – that of hypocrisy – is, in this article, clearly demonstrated. If indeed, these charges against Cardinal Pell are sustained after appeal, he could be accused of institutional hypocrisy.

(There certainly are multiple witnesses against Cardinal Pell – unlike the one solitary witness against Bishop George Bell, whose testimony gained payment from the Church of England as ‘compensation’ for something which, if true, would certainly merit the loss of esteem suffered by the reputation of this long-deceased outstanding English Churchman (and his surviving family).

However, when such charges involving a ‘Prince of The Church’ like one of its highest-ranking Cardinals are brought into the public arena – backed by several complainants (one of whom committed suicide) – over a long period of time, there would seem to be something of a case to answer or at least for an explanation to be offered.

The supreme irony of the case of Cardinal Pell is that he was well-known – in an odd partnership with the ex-Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen – for his (their) campaigning against the emancipation of homosexual law reform in the matter of Same-Sex Marriage; stating, as shown in the article above, that “God made Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve”.

What, though, has to be recognised here, is the subtle differentiation needed to understand the phenomenon of paedophilia as being separate from that of homosexuality. The former; sexual exploitation of minors (whether of the same or of the opposite sex) which is subject to criminal prosecution; is very different from legal homosexual relationships between same-sex persons as adults. Paedophilia involves predation; whereas the well-known human phenomenon of homosexuality is a condition of same-sex attraction that is – in Western countries – legally acceptable between consenting adults

Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church has recently attributed its newly-discovered scandals of paedophilia (e.g; sexual predation of clergy upon choirboys) to what it sees as the ‘scourge of homosexuality’. However – although same-sex relationships have been proven to exist between pre-pubescent boys (and girls) – if sexual acts are instigated by adults with their under-aged children in their care, these are considered, by law, to be different from consensual adult relationships and are subject to criminal prosecution. Paedophilia is the charge against Cardinal Pell, and for which he has been found guilty in a court of law.

Our own Anglican Church is not immune from charges of paedophilia. Sadly, there have been cases involving clergy in both Australia and the U.K., where Anglican clergy have been accused of predating upon vulnerable young people in their care. However, such predation is not confined to same-sex activity. Nor are unwelcomed sexual advances always confined to children.

What needs to be understood by the Church, and by anyone who considers paedophilia to be a direct product of homosexuality is that most homosexuals (like most heterosexuals) are not attracted to pre-pubescent children. As soon as this fact is generally recognised, the sooner the fear of homosexuality being ‘spread’ among the young by presumedly predatory ‘Gays’ will be proved to be totally unfounded.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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