Catholic Leaders Mourn Death of Cardinal Pell, Victim of Anti-Catholic Hate

A fearless defender of the Catholic faith, Australian Cardinal George Pell is being mourned as a victim of “anti-Catholicism” that drove him to be convicted of sexual abuse in 2018 and sentenced to solitary confinement, until finally he was acquitted by the full bench of the Australian High Court in 2020.

Pell, who died Tuesday at the age of 81, had recently undergone successful hip surgery, but then suffered cardiac arrest.

“No priest of his stature was victimized in recent times more than him,” wrote The Catholic League President Bill Donohue Wednesday. “He suffered mightily, spending over 400 days in an Australian prison for crimes he was later acquitted. The anti-Catholicism that drove his conviction was obvious to all with eyes to see.”

Donohue, who chronicled the “unsubstantiated accusations” levied against Pell, as well as the anti-Catholic establishment media’s spin, summarized what the cardinal endured, asserting he was “the victim of outrageous lies.”

A Victoria state County Court jury convicted Pell, after he had become the Archbishop of Melbourne, of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“He had been smeared, spat upon, and forced to endure solitary confinement for crimes he never committed,” Donohue asserted, adding:

Pell was charged with abusing two boys in 1996. One of the boys overdosed on drugs but not before telling his mother—on two occasions—that Pell never abused him. The other boy’s accusation was undercut by the dead boy’s account: they were allegedly abused at the same time and place. There were no witnesses to an offense that supposedly took place after Mass in the sacristy of a church.

Donohue quoted the Australian High Court’s ultimate acquittal ruling:

The assumption that a group of choristers, including adults, might have been so preoccupied with making their way to the robing room as to fail to notice the extraordinary sight of the Archbishop of Melbourne dressed “in his full regalia” advancing through the procession and pinning a 13 year old boy to the wall, is a large one.

“That is putting it mildly,” Donohue wrote. “It is preposterous.”

“Australia has lost a great son and the Church has lost a great leader with the passing of George Pell,” said former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a statement in which he called the suffering Pell was made to endure “a modern form of crucifixion.”

“The Cardinal was a committed defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a staunch advocate for the virtues of Western Civilization,” Abbott stated. “As an ecclesiastical and cultural conservative, he attracted praise and blame from all the expected quarters.”

Abbott described Pell further as “a very pastoral priest who well understood the human stain and was more than capable of empathising with sinners while still counselling against sin.”

“His incarceration on charges that the High Court ultimately scathingly dismissed was a modern form of crucifixion,” he asserted. “Reputationally at least a kind of living death.”

“By dealing so equably with a monstrous allegation, he strikes me as a saint for our times,” the former prime minister concluded.

Ashley McGuire, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, referred to Pell as “both a vanguard of orthodoxy and a fearless reformer.”

“He was both unafraid to defend Church teaching to the world and unafraid to challenge the Church herself where reforms were needed,” McGuire said in comments sent to The Star News Network.

“He suffered as a result,” she noted. “Thankfully he leaves this life for the next with his name unambiguously cleared of the shameless attempts to besmirch it. He will be remembered for his courage before the Church and the world. He was a true lion of the Church.”

– – –

Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Cardinal George Pell” by Kerry Myers. CC BY 2.0.


Related posts