Sunday, March 03, 2019

Cardinal Pell and a Painful Reminder

This big news this past week was the conviction of Cardinal Pell in Australia on sex abuse charges. This trial was noted for its irregularity, at least from an American perspective. The gag orders, secret evidence, and general inaccessibility of the facts of the case to the media have given this trial the character of a kangaroo court. In the United States, Pell's trial certainly would not have met the threshold for anything considered just and objective.

Still, I am surprised the degree to which many Catholics are leaping on this and rushing to exonerate Pell. Some are even publishing ridiculous statements calling him a martyr and postng "I stand with Cardinal Pell" pictures on social media. There is almost something like a knee-jerk reaction to vindicate Pell's innocence. I suspect this is because (unlike the figures of McCarrick or Wuerl) many orthodox Catholics seemed to like Cardinal Pell. His conviction was thus easy to read as an attempt of the vindictive, aggressively secularist government of Australia to rid itself of a gadfly of orthodoxy.

Certainly his trial was all screwy, but I have no idea whether he is guilty or innocent based on that. And the fact that Australian trial procedure is different than that in the U.S. is no indication either. But here's what troubles me most about the reaction to the Pell conviction—it seems to me that traditionally minded Catholics are rushing to defend Pell mainly because of his orthodox credentials; in other words, because someone on "our" side simply can't be guilty of the same things we see from progressives like McCarrick. 

For one thing, I want to remind everyone that Cardinal Pell isn't some bastion of orthodoxy. I was never very impressed with him. Honestly, he struck me as the Cardinal Dolan of Australia, a guy who seldom spoke heresy but also wasn't interested in making any strong and principled stand for the faith either. I vividly remember him several years ago insisting there was no literal Adam and Eve in a pathetic attempt to look cool and sophisticated for Richard Dawkins; Dawkins turned on him and (rightfully) said if there was no Adam and Eve then there couldn't be original sin and the entire claim of Christianity was groundless. Pell had no response. He just never impressed me as a great bishop or defender of orthodoxy.

But—and I think this is more important—we have to realize that the scourge of homosexuality in the clergy cuts across lines of orthodoxy. It is not true that the homosexual and progressive groups are identical. As the filth in the Church continues to be exposed, we need to realize that many of "our" people are going to be exposed as well. The Vigano testimony makes this clear—it's not just a liberal problem. The only difference between liberals and conservatives in this regard is that liberals want the open acceptance of homosexuality within the Church while conservatives do not, but that is a different question than whether particular clerics are or are not themselves homosexuals.

Frederic Martel's book In the Closet of the Vatican says four out of every five clerics in the Vatican are gay. But the book is being dismissed by some because many of the allegedly gay prelates named in the book are conservatives. Martel claims, for example, that Cardinal Burke is homosexual, a thought that is untenable to many Catholics. 

I make no claims about the veracity of Martel's book, just like I can't opine on the facts of the Pell trial. A lot of his book seems to be based on hearsay. But what I can say is that we cannot be inherently opposed to the idea that otherwise conservative, orthodox prelates might also be homosexuals. A person might be a homosexual and even have acted on it in the past while still being a conservative who teaches homosexuality is wrong, just like I know unchastity is wrong and can speak against it even if I have no always been chaste in my own life. I would have no problem believing Cardinal Burke was homosexual. But whether I thought so or not, it would depend on the specific evidence, not on a knee-jerk reaction about "so-and-so simply can't be gay because they have made principled stands against homosexuality" or "I bet so-and-so is gay because he's liberal."

So, I'm not saying Pell is guilty or Burke is gay or anything else. But I am saying, get it out of your head that the homosexual problem is only a progressive problem. I'm sure there are parallels, but the lines are not contiguous. If we can't get it through our heads that the purge we desire is going to expose "our people" too, then we're not really ready for the cleansing that is coming.


Murray said...

You're correct, of course. For my own part, I wouldn't be particularly bothered if it turned out that Cardinal X was same-sex attracted, as long as he endeavored to live a chaste life and faithfully upheld the teachings of Holy Mother Church. One might say that it would have been better for such men to have been barred from the priesthood, but since we don't have a rewind button, we have to take them as they are.

As for Pell, my strong impression is that he's been railroaded, regardless of his adherence to orthodoxy. Many secular Australian commentators have expressed the same belief, and even the liberal Jesuit Fr Frank Brennan, who attended the trial, was appalled by the verdict. On a purely procedural level, it seems like Pell should have been found not guilty regardless of his objective guilt or innocence, based on the flimsy, uncorroborated testimony against him. I think he's probably innocent, but it's likely will never know for sure.

CinciJohn said...

Are "progressives" going to use false accusations as a weapon against Cardinals, Bishops and Priests who hold to and proclaim the traditions of the Church?

Boniface said...

@CinciJohn, that's certainly possible, but I am not going to assume a priori that a certain accusation is false just because a cleric is traditional, just like we shouldn't assume any accusation is true just because the accused is progressive

StrugglingMama said...

Thank you. Honestly, the "So-and-so's innocent because he's on our side" reaction is incredibly painful and makes it hard to imagine this crisis ever ending.

Veronica said...

It is not a question of whether Cardinal Pell is a liberal or a conservative (yes, he’s known for his orthodoxy and conservativism although that has not always been so) but whether he even had the possibility of committing the sexual abuse for which he was convicted. All the circumstantial and witnesses’ evidence points to it being an IMPOSSIBILITY, and therefore a conviction based on lies! One of the boys relented and admitted to his mother on his deathbed in 2014 that he had never been sexually abused, leving the whole aacusation resting on one flimsy account of a boy apparently groomed by the homosexual lobby. That is why most of the faithful, both conservative Catholics and many liberals too - even non-Catholics like Andrew Bolt of Sky News - believe he is totally innocent.

Everyone who knows Cardinal Pell well affirms that he is NOT a homosexual, but a masculine, courageous man of integrity. He has been a fearless fighter for years against the powerful gay lobby so entrenched in Australian society (and which we know has infiltrated the Church under the name of “the lavender mafia”). They were out to get him for years, and have finally succeeded, thanks to the defamatory hate campaign divulged by the vicious, secular MSM. This witch hunt against Pell has, sadly, even been swallowed by some gullible Catholics, ashamed by the overwhelming horror of proven clerical sex abuse that has come to light in recent times.

The truth will be known one day, for Our Blessed Lord has told us:
“For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.” (Mk.4:22)

Phinnpoy said...

Why people think a person is automatically innocent because he's 'conservative' or 'orthodox' is beyond me. I'm pretty sure Judas was both before he betrayed Christ. And the Church was in the early years of the last century, fairly orthodox on the surface. And all of the clerics who became liberal were trained in fairly conservative schools. So why do ee have this problem with both sides of the polictical/religious divide?
Sodomy is the key to understanding this puzzle. It doesn't matter whether a cleric is liberal or conservative on the surface, his main allegiance is to the state of sodomy. Whether they choose their outward politco-religious stance out of some convictions or cover up, I don't know, but their main loyalty is to their fellow perverts.
Starting now, Catholics have better start looking what a cleric says about sex, rather than being enthralled by seemingly orthodox statements uttered from time to time. And, it wouldn't hurt to check out rumors that they might hear about sexual misconduct by a priest or a bishop. Many times, rumors tend to become solid facts, especially if they're repeated by different sources unrelated to each other.

Anonymous said...

Veronica, do you know Cardinal Pell yourself? How do you know he's NOT a homosexual? You should heed the OP's prudential advice. Pell is an operator who's close with money and power in Australia and in the US. That doesn't prove anything, but do be careful.

Teutonic Warrior said...

The crisis goes deeper than the simple mindset of homosexuals in the Church. We Catholics must return to the traditions of the Church, and reject the modern innovations of the worldly Novus Ordo man centered religion. Scripture speaks against being friendly with the world; this is memory with God. Vatican II sows its seeds to the wind, and now is reaping the whirlwind.

Anonymous said...

We go on talking about homosexual priests and abuse, and that is a terrible thing, I don´t deny it, but that is what the world wants us to talk about. We are no longer talking of progressivism and the terrible damage it causes to the faith. The homosexual priests are, probably the lesser, meanwhile, the progressivists are the vast majority of the clergy. It is infinitely more terrible to teach heresy than to be homosexual or even commit an abuse.

Veronica said...

Anonymous at 4:35pm on 4th March asks whether I know Cardinal Pell in person.
No, I do not, nor do I live in Australia, but I have friends there, one whose family has known him personally for years and swears he is a man of strong principles and integrity. They have witnessed helplessly, and with great sorrow the ongoing witch-hunt against this faithful defender of Catholic moral teaching who has taken on practically singlehanded the powerful gay lobby entrenched in both society and the Catholic Church in Oz. (No pansified man would do that.)

Cdl. Pell has made many enemies by refusing to bow to the reigning PC, pro-gay, secular agenda and working to eradicate active sodomites from holding positions in the Church. He was also promptly removed from his position as Vatican financial investigator when he discovered that an enormous sum of money (1 billion dollars, I believe) had mysteriously disappeared, i.e. stolen, from Church funds!! Yup, the Enemy and his minions have also infiltrated the Church, and Cdl. Pell was a thorn in their side who had to go!
Are you beginning to see the picture now?

A blog named ‘Catholicism Pure & Simple’ has been watching and reporting on the Pell case since it began. Take a look:
And this recent post from 1Peter5 uncovers the full meaning and future consequences for the Church to come withthe framing of Cdl. Pell.

Boniface said...

^Sure, he's stood up for admirable things etc etc but none of that means he couldn't be a homosexual. Even Cardinal Burke or Benedict XVI could be homosexuals. It's not related to where they stand on the struggles within the Church.

Anonymous said...

Off topic: I looked at one of your videos ("Catholics, You Should Be Outraged...") and I wanted to alert you that someone repeatedly dubbed over your voice with this phrase, "This year's controversial social justice issue." Thank you for your blog and God bless!

Konstantin said...

I guess we could all fall very low without God's grace. Could Cardinal X be a serial killer? Potentially, but usually this is not the question among Catholics and the media. If you are not gay and condemn homosexuality according to the teachings of the Church, you make yourself the target of spurious accusations. According to the book of the gay Frenchman, Cardinal Burke supposedly has a “peculiar gait” (I have seen him on several occasions and he walks like an elderly man with hip problems) and “dresses like a drag queen” (if the dress of the cardinatial state like cappa magna etc. means dressing like a drag queen, then we shouldn‘t even stoop to that level of argumentation). Of course a conservative could be a homosexual, but I think the question should rather be whether we have to entertain the thought that certain churchmen are homosexuals based on gratuitous claims of outsiders, some of them anti-Catholics.

Boniface said...

@Anonymous 3/13 @ 12:01:

LOLOLOL...the video is supposed to be that way. That's part of the joke.

Tancred said...

What about his allowance of “gay” liturgies where he’s been ordinary? Imagine Saint Augustine tolerating a Soho GLBT-P “Mass”.