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The Destruction of Cardinal Pell

Two years ago, when this story came out, I asked some friends and fellow journalists, “Is this the trigger-pull on Pell?” At the time, of course, his name wasn’t even being mentioned. But as the events unfolded that would later be referred to as “Vatileaks II,” media reports of new allegations of financial mismanagement at the Vatican left the question open of whether Pell, as the man put in place to sort things out, would be in the crosshairs.

At the time, there was already a creeping sense that Pell, during the tenure of his investigation into the Vatican bank (also known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR), had quickly become persona non grata. When he signed on to the 13 Cardinals Letter expressing concern about how the Synod was being conducted — something Francis was reported to have taken rather personally — his fall from grace accelerated.

Things were quiet for a while, particularly after Pope Francis pulled the plug on his own audit of the Vatican bank in September last year.

And then, this week, things exploded. Allegations that Pell engaged in sexual molestation decades ago originally surfaced two years ago, but have now transitioned from an investigation into formal charges. According to sources with knowledge of the Australian cardinal, the media in his home country have been hostile towards him for many years, and he isn’t well-loved by a significant portion of the clergy there. Pell’s own response has been an eagerness to finally have his day in court and fight the accusations he categorically denies. Nevertheless, in an article by Nancy Flory at The Stream, the entire affair is characterized as a “witch hunt” designed to destroy Pell’s reputation:

“Pell can never receive a fair trial,” writesThe Australian columnist Angela Shanahan. She is describing the “media witch-hunt” that has dogged Cardinal George Pell for two years. New and vague charges — of “historic sexual offenses” — were filed against Cardinal Pell yesterday morning. Cardinal Pell has repeatedly denied allegations of sexual abuse leveled against him. Still, the media in Australia have repeated claims about the Cardinal’s guilt. They’ve printed leaked information about the investigation against Pell, and claimed that charges were “imminent.” And hostile book on Cardinal Pell (Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell) came out in May.

The ‘Witch Hunt’

A few brave souls have challenged the Cardinal’s trial-by-media-innuendo. Amanda Vanstone, columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and “no fan of organized religion,” decries the media’s hysteria over Cardinal Pell. “What we are seeing is no better than a lynch mob from the dark ages … [it] is far worse than a simple assessment of guilt. The public arena is being used to trash a reputation and probably prevent a fair trial,” wrote Vanstone. “Isn’t it normal to try to ensure a person can get a fair trial,” she asks, “by keeping prejudicial, untested material out of the public arena?”

One can’t help but wonder whether decades-old allegations — usually impossible to prove — will do anything but leave Pell a man with a ruined reputation. Certainly, a guilty verdict under such circumstances seems unlikely. But with headlines like “The Pope’s Pedophile?” now circulating in the mainstream press, even an complete acquittal will never restore his good name.

I’ve had people ask me if I think he’s guilty. I know far too little about the circumstances to even make an educated guess. The vicious pursuit of his destruction tends to make me reflexively sympathetic, but the truth matters here a great deal. For his sake, and the sake of the alleged victims, I hope a fair and thorough trial is possible, and that the truth will come out.

One possible consideration regarding Pell’s potential guilt relates to the managerial style of Pope Francis. As I’ve noted before, the pope seems to have a tendency to surround himself with compromised men. From Msgr. Battista Ricca (also involved with the Vatican bank reform) to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, some of Francis’ most noteworthy associates are men with skeletons in their closets that could easily be taken out and put on display if they become…inconvenient. If Pell were a man with sexual abuse in his background, it could certainly be used against him if necessary. But even if he’s as innocent as the driven snow, the very fact that such allegations already existed might have provided the leverage necessary to put him in such a delicate position. After all, Pell was allowed to look into the Pandora’s box of the Vatican finances. And it’s hard not to wonder if he discovered too much.

Recall that in January of 2015, the “ousted chairman of the Vatican bank”, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, wrote an article in the Catholic Herald in which he warned Pell that he might very well not have been properly informed of all that had gone on in the bank’s recent history — and how he believed he was let go because of his “decision to present the board with a plan that would have totally changed the role and governance of the bank.” After giving his own side of the story, Tedeschi made a set of recommendations to Pell:

I honestly think that Cardinal Pell should get to the bottom of four mysteries:

1) Who changed the Vatican’s anti-money laundering law in December 2011 and why?
2) Who really decided that I should be discharged from the lay board as chairman of the Vatican bank on May 24 2012, and why?
3) Who disregarded Benedict XVI’s decision in favour of my rehabilitation?
4) Who refused to question me about all the above facts? Who does not want to know my version of the truth and why?

It’s impossible to read that list and not see it as an indictment of willful malfeasance on the part of unknown but powerful actors within the Vatican power structure.

The question of unseen hands making changes at the IOR is an intriguing one. It seems relevant here to note that part of the subtext behind the coup that overthrew the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) involved an allegation that an enormous bequest (30 million Swiss francs) given to the Order was handed over to the Vatican Bank. Marc Odendall, one of the key players in the von Boeselager faction of the SMOM story, was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 to the board of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority – an oversight body created by Pope Benedict XVI to help clean up corruption and mismanagement at the IOR. Last December, at around the same time Albrech von Boeselager was being forced out of his position as Grand Chancellor of the Order, his brother Georg was appointed to a supervisory position at the Vatican Bank. And in the midst of it all, the trustee of the 30 million franc bequest was alleged, in one anonymously-written report that was circulated to the media earlier this year, to have made threats that if the lawsuit against her (filed by the SMOM to get control of their bequest) were not dropped, she was going to reveal dirty secrets about things going on within the Vatican’s own financial institutions:

“She knew some of the internal financial deals and workings of the Vatican, including, we must presume, some that were not entirely straightforward.”

It continues: “She was, it is now believed, indicating that, if she continued to be sued, or was prosecuted, she would tell the world what she knew about those internal Vatican financial dealings and would not hesitate to publicize the names of certain high-ranking Vatican officials and their connections with the transactions and deals.”

Returning to Pell’s own role in straightening out Vatican finances, recall, too, that he discovered over a billion euros “hidden” from the IOR books in 2015:

The vast sums of undeclared money have been hidden in various bank accounts by organisations and groups within the Holy See in Rome.

The funds have not been misused and are not part of corruption and scandal that have previously shamed the Vatican but the money has not been properly disclosed or available for the full use of the Vatican because it has been hidden away in an Italian practice of keeping aside undeclared finds.

“In an Italian practice of keeping aside undeclared funds.”

Really? So what would be illegal for anyone else is merely “an Italian practice”?

There is another recent story that might seem of minimal impact on its own, but takes on a larger significance in light of the larger questions surrounding corruption at the IOR. Libero Milone, the new Auditor General appointed by Pope Francis in 2015 to dig into the Vatican financial situation, suddenly and unexpectedly resigned last month. No details were given, but it is clear that Milone faced resistance from within the Vatican bureaucracy to financial reforms from the very beginning. Early in his tenure, for example, his computer was hacked. And according to Edward Pentin, “The disclosure of that story gave way to the scandal Vatileaks II.

Pentin also noted a particular point of resistance faced by both Milone and Pell:

More recently, he [Milone] signed a letter with Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, reprimanding the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the Vatican body responsible for managing the Vatican’s real estate, after it told Vatican departments to supply their financial information not to the general auditor, but to an outside one.

Milone and Cardinal Pell wrote a letter in May to all dicasteries saying “with deep regret” they had to intervene to refute APSA’s instruction. APSA’s arbitrary and unilateral action was viewed as an extraordinary encroachment not only on the authority of the Secretariat for the Economy and the auditor general, but also that of the Secretariat of State. And unlike the ending of the PwC audit last year, inside Vatican sources said it did not come from a higher authority, and was therefore read as a provocative move by APSA to “claw back” some of its powers.

APSA has been arguably the most resistant to reforms involving greater financial scrutiny.

According to a report at the American website, it was this situation with the APSA that may have led to Pope Francis turning against Pell and his work:

Pell did find a potential new source of revenue in commercial and residential spaces in Rome valued at 1 billion euros and managed by the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, or APSA. According to the cardinal, the management wasn’t up to par, and in July 2014 Pope Francis gave Pell control of the properties.

However, APSA’s president, Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, recently became close to Pope Francis, often seen dining with him at the Pope’s residence. Over the course of 18 months, Francis removed Pell’s control over APSA’s real estate. Some blame Pell’s belief in the free-market, of which Pope Francis is a well-known critic.

Francis killed his own audit last September.

So here, again, we are faced with a mystery: why did Milone resign just a little over a week before Pell was formally charged? Did he know what was coming? Did he realize that the obstacles stacked against their work were simply too high, that the corruption within the Vatican financial system was too deep?

Remember, too, how Professor Germano Dottori of the Institute for Strategic Studies at LUISS-Guido Carli University in Rome wrote an article earlier this year indicating that he believes financial leverage was brought to bear by international forces that ultimately led to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI:

The Italian and papal governments were simultaneously hit by a scandalous, coordinated, and unusually violent and unprecedented campaign, even involving more or less opaque maneuvers in the financial field, with the final effect coming to a head in November 2011 with Berlusconi’s departure from the Palazzo Chigi and, on February 10 [sic – 11], 2013, the abdication of Ratzinger. At the height of the crisis, Italy progressively saw its access to international financial markets closed, while the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) [the Vatican Bank] was temporarily cut out of the Swift 4 circuit. [emphasis added]

One of the lesser-known factors in the abdication of Pope Benedict is that in the days before his statement of resignation, banking within the Vatican had become all-but-impossible. The situation was a result of intentional pressure brought to bear against the Vatican — pressure some say was used to force the Vatican to clean up its financial corruption and comply with international banking standards, and others believed amounted to a form of blackmail against the person of the pope.

Imagine what it must have been like to audit this mess, to peel back layer after layer of corruption and obfuscation, to discover a billion euros hidden where it shouldn’t be, to try to identify the men behind the scenes, pulling strings and misdirecting attention.

This year, we’ve even seen rumors that the Vatican has become financially insolvent. Rumors that say it is because of this that the German Church, funded annually to the tune of billions of euros by the mandatory Church tax, has become such a powerful influence in Rome. Is it possible that the Rhine’s current flow into the Tiber is carried by a torrent of liquidity?

I wonder if we’ll ever know.

It does not seem a stretch to conclude that Cardinal Pell has made powerful enemies within the Vatican as he has chipped away at this convoluted and ossified system of financial management in a quest for transparency and compliance with banking standards. One person who reached out to me this week said it is even believed that there are those who, having abused the privileges of their Vatican offices for personal financial gain, are helping to fund the campaign against Pell.

Rumors are allegations are only that until the truth is brought into the light. If Pell is guilty of sexual abuse, he should be held accountable. But if this is a campaign to destroy him ginned up by those with the most to lose if the Vatican has to clean up its financial act, people with knowledge of what is happening should step forward to exonerate the man.

Either way, the destruction of Cardinal Pell appears, at this point, to be a fait accompli.

82 thoughts on “The Destruction of Cardinal Pell”

  1. Is there no limit to the sheer evil of this Cabal in Rome? Bergoglio was born out of his time – he’d have been far better suited to the era of the Borgias. God help Cardinal Pell…… it looks a though he needs all our prayers. I’d say that the scandal at the Vatican Bank are much more serious than previously suspected if the Hierarchy are beginning to throw good men to the proverbial lions to shut them up.

  2. Meanwhile on the same day, apartment of the former secretary of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio as reported scarcely is gay drug orgy hell house, but did you see any media lynch over that?

      • May I say something to you, that might hurt your feelings a little, please?

        Would you consider changing your Disqus name to “yermammy” in Settings->Profile->Name because it reads: “Your f**king Mammy” and it gives me a jolt every time I come across it, in this generally very safe space of the Internet? “Mammy” is a nickname for mother where I’m from. This brings down the tone of this fine site, imo. Funny, a moderator saying the same thing to you could be off-key in a different way: overbearing prudishness. But hey, I’m just a guest like you, and really, no offense meant, mate, asking you this. 🙂

  3. Steve, there plainly is a pattern of Pope Francis favouring some very dodgy characters for no good reason. Apart from the ones you mention above, look the following appointments:

    1. Archbishop Paglia, who commissioned the erotic mural for his cathedral in Terni. The charitible say the mural was homoerotic, the less kind that it is paedoerotic.

    2. Father Timothy Radcliffe, former world wide Master of the Dominicans. Infamous for comparing sodomy to the self-giving of Jesus.

    3. Cardinal Maradiago who complained in ludicrously exaggerated language about the coverage of the abuse crisis and ascribed it to Jewish control of the media.

    4. Cardinal Daneels whose attempt to cover up an abuse scandal in Belgium has not hurt his access to the Vatican.

  4. Betting the Vatican Bank has more bones buried in its past than the Catacombs. Pell must have struck a nerve.

  5. I’m going to start by thanking Steve for this: “the truth matters here a great deal.” Not one of us knows the truth about these accusations, and after all this time (and given the details I’ve read) we’re unlikely to ever truly know.
    I do pray that Cardinal Pell gets a fair trial.
    Now. The tribal cries of “witch hunt” absolutely, utterly infuriate and sicken me beyond what I can express. If Cardinal Pell did do what his accusers say, I hope he is laicized and shunned for the rest of his life. Nothing else that he’s done, for good or ill, in his life as a Catholic prelate matters in regard to this.
    I could write for hours on the disgusting display of “he’s on our team” tribalism I’ve read in the Catholic press. It’s as if suggestive words, groping, the ruining of a child’s trust, isn’t that big a deal, as long as there was no further physical coercion.
    Lots of people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. I’m very tempted to name the bloggers and commenters who have already pronounced sentence on the “criminal, paid-off accusers.” You can find them yourselves.
    May justice be done- not cheering, smearing, or promoting ‘loyalty’ to anyone, at this point.

    • I think the complaints about the witch hunt, at least in what I’ve read and linked, have more to do with how the media is leaking damaging information and just generally on a crusade to bring Pell down before he even has a trial. If it’s true that he can’t get a fair trial because of this, that, too, is a travesty and deeply unjust.

      But I never claim to know what a man has done in the past, and I won’t exonerate him before this is aired out. I was involved with the Legionaries of Christ for years, for Pete’s sake. I know first hand how that plays out.

      • I agree. I certainly hope he gets a fair trial and the truth comes out. I believe in the presumption of innocence, but I also believe it is possible that he, or anyone, might be guilty of such crimes. As an Australian, though, I am thoroughly fed up with the Australian media’s witch hunts. They are a demonic mob who hate the Church, and that’s all they are. If they really cared about the poor victims of sex abuse, they would hound the schools and other places where such evil crimes are committed with horrible frequency. That said, I do want the truth to come out, so generally speaking, I don’t mind serious allegations being reported in the media.

      • What I’ve read doesn’t focus solely on the media. Of course it’s a titillating, look-at-all-those-hypocrites story, for them. But Catholic bloggers with no connection to the Australian (or US mainstream) media are piling on with words you’d ban me for using. I won’t put in links; this stuff is out there and easily accessible to you and all readers.
        As to a fair trial, I think it’s impossible (barring a confession from Pell, or retraction by the accused, or admissible documents/recordings proving collusion among any of the parties) to prove guilt or innocence of these charges. At this point the judgement will be based on the perceived credibility of Pell and his accusers. Yes, the media play the usual role in prejudicing public (judges, juries, commissions included) opinion.
        None of that makes any difference whatsover as to what I wrote.
        Not to be ingratiating, but I meant to compliment your article in contrast to other sources.

    • I totally agree, the truth must come out. No decent person, especially Catholic, wants to see anyone falsely accused, and therefore falsely found guilty. What we are seeing is the lingering ramifications of how the clergy have dealt with this scandal to begin with. This is all of their making and therefore, barring a wrong conviction, this is still their mess. Pell was less than accommodating when he testified at the abuse hearing last year. It’s rather ironic but they are in fact self abusing themselves because they will not come clean.

      I hope that one day the clergy gets so sick and tired of all this that they just release all the information, speak the truth, and allow God to cleanse this church once and for all. They just make it worse and worse. It’s getting hard to watch them continue to allow this to fester, and frankly they act like petulant children who cannot face up to what they have done.

      • It is true that George Pell, by his sometimes, shall we say, “aloof” responses to the Royal Commission, did not acquit himself particularly well. But the openly expressed loathing of the person of George Pell long pre-dates the Royal Commission. It is something that the mainstream media has often enthusiastically fostered, with the encouragement on occasions of certain ostensibly Catholic politicians who are nothing but products of the degenerate, secular humanist zeitgeist.

        SAF knows nothing of this. Instead, he makes a scathing assessment of someone (i.e. myself), whom he does not know from the proverbial bar of soap, thereby condemning himself by his own arrogance and ignorance.

        I know of no thinking, knowledgeable and faithful Catholic would would deny the absolute necessity that the truth be known, regardless of how painful and acutely embarrassing it may be in the short term. But I also know that the Church will not bear the stigma of these evils in perpetuity. The Church, the Body of Christ on Earth, must ascend Her own Calvary to be put to death, and this can only be made possible if, like her Christ, she is betrayed by “an insider”: by the many, many Judases within her ranks. But all of this filth will one day, by the Power of God, be consigned to the place where it belongs and the Church will be renewed and made ready, as the glorious Bride of Christ, to be received by her heavenly Bridegroom Future generations will see all of that preceded tis re-birth in the proper perspective, that is, the final, all-out attempt by the powers of hell to annihilate the Church, and so completely extinguish the Light of Christ from the whole earth and thus secure the everlasting destruction of humanity and all creation. No, future generations will not be looking back upon this and squirming: it will all be clearly understood for what it is. Regardless of the outcome of Cardinal George Pell’s impending trial.

        And for myself, my prayer is that the truth will prevail, and that justice be done in this matter. But, as Steve quite rightly says; whatever the outcome of the trial, the perception will always be that George Cardinal Pell is damaged goods.

        • I cannot help but find some similarity between the RCC and their “disregard” of what the BVM asked of them at Fatima and their inability to live in the Truth of God by not yielding to what is right and true. They are severely damaging the church by not having the faith in God, and the redemption of Jesus to cleanse this church physically, mentally, spiritually with this abuse crisis. Everything about this crisis, EVERYTHING, is ant-God, anti-Jesus, I cannot fathom why they cling to this for their own egos. I sincerely hope that one day, soon, they will have the faith and courage to speak the truth about this crisis, and allow God (who is patiently waiting) to bring it back to life. It is withering on the vine because of them and it is this scandal beyond anything else that is killing this church. Even those entering now who may be its salvation forward are learning this sinful behavior, are kept from bringing new light to the clergy. God and God alone will resurrect this church.

          • May I refer you to the most recent offering; “the Pontifical Academy For Life Edition” by the Lepanto Institute; (Michael Hichborn). It contains the latest in his excellent series, “Bold and Stupid Men” and runs for 15 mins.It contains a most beautiful description of the Church, given to a mystic monk in the 19th. century. This is not the result of his own contemplation; it is a revelation from Heaven.

    • I don’t know about Pell’s case, but I do know of one priest in my own diocese who was completely innocent back in the American sodomy/sexual scandals. Nonetheless, his bishop decided to throw this good man under the bus in order to appear decisive and resolute himself (he had a less than stellar reputation in these matters up to that time). Trumped up charges leveled by a lunatic (clinically lunatic) woman were used to force this good priest to suspend ministry and, naturally, he was pilloried in the press. But he fought back, got himself some canonical legal help, and appealed this outrageous injustice all the way to Rome. Mirabile dictu, he eventually won! He was reinstated and welcomed back into his parish with a standing ovation. Soon after, he retired with his good name intact.

      So, while I detest the very idea of clerical abuse of minors, I know there are some cases that are nothing more than a lynching, a witch hunt. And I know that this happens sometimes because a corrupt prelate is willing to smear another man in order to solve his own problems. Never jump to conclusions.

      • I’m glad if that outcome was as just as you describe. And I’m not jumping to conclusions. To be clear, I’m criticizing the Catholic media sources who are claiming, without evidence, that Cardinal Pell is being subjected to a witch hunt. Yes, those occur. And many other child abusers, whether clergy or not, never face justice for what they do.
        The media being anti-Christian does not mean that Pell is innocent, or that he’s guilty. Why is this a controversial idea?
        As I’ve said, it will be difficult if not impossible for the truth to be determined here. If Cardinal Pell is innocent, I pray the accusers will recant. Then they and he will have a better hope of salvation, though I agree with Steve Skojec that his church career is over in any case. If Cardinal Pell is guilty of hurting boys by ruining their innocence and trust, I hope he will be ruined unto repentance. But ruined in worldly status, honor, and any influence, nonetheless- however good that influence might be for traditional Catholics.
        This is an unpopular opinion with a shocking (to me) number of people.

        • Notice something about these cases of unjust accusations when they occur: the goal of those supporting the charges is almost always achieved. The priest whose case I recounted retired months after his reinstatement; age and stress had taken their toll. Pell may “win” in court, but his maligners, if that is what they are, will have effectively ruined him anyway. The cardinal cannot retrieve his lost reputation and no one will go after false accusers ever. For the victims of these publicity scams, it’s always “heads I win, tails you lose.”

          • Shakespeare summed it up nicely in Othello – “He who steals my purse steals trash. But he who robs me of my good name steals that which enriches him not, but which impoverishes me.”

        • Cardinal Pell has a lot of enemies since he’s been telling the truth clearly and being too rigid that hurts many “people of lies.”

        • Dear SAF
          You’re forgetting something. Until proven otherwise, Pell MUST be regarded as innocent. Although it may not work that way in the world, at least it should work that way with us. Your comments cast the man in no-man’s-land with some sort of downgraded ‘innocent’ status.
          Since the same rules apply to his accusers, the only moral option available to us is to tread carefully, say little, write less, watch and pray.

      • There is another completely innocent priest, Father Gordon MacRae (, who has been incarcerated in New Hampshire for 22 years for abuse crimes he did not commit. His story will crush your heart. No doubt there are others. If Pell has his day in court and is exonerated, perhaps he should spend the rest of his life leading a mission to winning the release of priests like Gordon MacRae.

      • This is what happened in the case of Fr. Gordon MacRae. His bishop threw him under the bus. The person, a Msgr. in the chancery who was instrumental in helping to tainting the case, was himself recently convicted of stealing funds from the diocese to support his homosexual lover…a lover who the diocese took pains to assure the public, was not a minor. [I guess that made it okay then/ sarcasm off]. That Msgr. has now been liacised, but Fr. MacRae continues to be in prison, only because he refused to plead guilty. Had he pleaded guilty he would have been out 20 some years ago.

        Fr. MacRae’s latest post is about falsely accused priests and has also added a comment about Cardinal Pell.

        • Be very careful of the Gordon MacCrae case. I’m familiar with it, and things aren’t quite so cut and dried as Gordon’s defenders would have us see them; he had significant psychological problems discovered in therapy before his trial and sentencing in 1994. That’s not to say definitively that he’s guilty as charged, not that there weren’t anomalies — serious ones — during the trial that led to his ridiculously long sentence in NH State Prison. Nor does it speak to the curious behavior of the very liberal former NH judge, Arthur Brennan. But, after much reading, I’m convinced MacCrae’s innocence isn’t as obvious as he pretends. I am also acquainted with Eddy Arsenault, the larcenous sodomite who once served Bishop John Brendan McCormack in several high-ranking roles at the chancery; I challenged him repeatedly online and in person while he was in power. While he’s a perfectly disreputable and repellent fellow, he was not “instrumental in helping to taint the [MacCrae] case” as you allege. Neither Arsenault nor McCormack was serving when MacCrae was convicted in September of 1994. McCormack arrived from Boston in 1998, if memory serves me well, and Eddy started riding herd on the diocese even later. Any intervention they may have had in this case concerned MacCrae’s appeals, not his original conviction.

          • Stop the presses Johnny! I just came across this, and your information is solid, but solidly wrong. I don’t think there is anyone who has researched the case of Father MacRae more than Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal and me. I will link at the end of this comment to a list of my posts on the MacRae case. The “psychological” difficulties you cite are bogus and contrived. They are mostly contrived by Bishop McCormack and the now laicized Monsignor Arsenault. It’s true they were not around for the farce of MacRae’s trial, but it’s also true that they investigated his case, determined that he was innocent, and then tried to bury their own investigation when the Boston scandal exploded in McCormack’s face in 2002. One of the reasons Monsignor Arsenault is now dismissed is that he was caught forging McCormack’s name on thousands of dollars of travel vouchers to support his gay lover, but in the years before that he was also forging the Bishop’s name on phony documents to the Holy See trying to have MacRae laicized while suppressing evidence of his innocence, Please don’t add to the egregious injustice of this case by spreading some of its mistruths. Here is my link: The Father Gordon J. MacRae Story: Injustice in New Hampshire.

          • I read the material you refer to in your link a while ago and I remain unconvinced. I saw recently that MacRae now even defends the late Fr. Joe Maskell of Baltimore whom I also believe was a predator. Frankly, MacRae’s thoughts about Maskell do not surprise me. After all, if Maskell, whose memory now faces a veritable legion of accusers, isn’t guilty, well then perhaps Gordon…. Curious how there is a massive conspiracy of accusers to sink Maskell’s name in Maryland, and another massive conspiracy to put and keep MacRae behind bars in NH. It takes a lot more than what you present to convince me of the validity of conspiracy theories.

            I knew Arsenault and I can believe he is capable of all the evil you attribute to him and perhaps more, but that in no way extricates MacRae from his legal difficulties. If you believe his story as you seem to, you should spend all your time trying to exonerate him in the courts of the State of NH, not trying to convince average citizens to enlist in a crusade of sorts.

          • It sounds to me as though you are capable of some evil of your own. But thank God for you. When a man is long dead and cannot defend his own name, we have you to tell us who should be condemned in the sight of God and man. Thank you for filling this role, a much needed place in our Church that lets us know when to go ahead and cast the stone.

          • And thank you for rising to the defense of implausible scenarios and unspeakable acts; seeing your efforts restores our faith in human credulity.

    • Do you reside, or have you ever resided within either the Diocese of Ballarat, the Archdiocese of Melbourne or the Archdiocese of Sydney? If not, then it must be said that your summary dismissal of the suggestions of a “witch hunt” derives from complete ignorance. It would therefore be preferable if you refrained from making such uninformed comments.

      • I reside in the USA and read media from all over the world, mate.
        I’m not uninformed. You’re another “yay! Team! It’s all a witch hunt until it’s Ricca, or whatever bad guy! Any inquiry about our prelates is proven false by the bias of Australian media alone!” types.
        There is nothing I can say that will help you. Good night.

        • When you have Amanda Vanstone,former Federal Govt minister and Oz Ambassador to Italy and not a Catholic, jumping in suggesting that it’s trial by media, she knows what she is talking about. What Steve wrote is on the money and you need to look at the big picture to understand the timing and methods .Stewart was right.

          • No, he wasn’t. He assumes the logical fallacy that…oh, never mind.
            Really, it’s hopeless. Good night to you as well.

      • The presumption of innocence. Lawyers are well aware of how a trial can be prejudiced by the media. Presumably his guilt or innocence will be judged by twelve jurymen. How easy will it be for them if they have read in the media that he is probably guilty to discard their prejudices? It is vital that there should not be such prejudicial (i.e. judgement beforehand) in the media. As the law has always said it is better that many guilty people go free rather than one innocent man be found guilty as a result of contemptuous prejudicial comment in the media. Incidentally that has always been my final objection to the death penalty.

        I do think one has to be particularly careful in respect of charges relating to matter that happened many decades previously. People should not escape justice just because decades have passed but how much reliance can one put on people’s memories of what happened years previously particularly in sexual matters. Do not we all ask ourselves did that really happen or did we dream it? Further there are people who really hate the church and are prepared to lie to do it down. Those involved in the forthcoming trial are going to have to be very careful.

        • Nicolas, you are absolutely correct. Such has been the relentless, heavily slanted media coverage of this whole unpleasant affair that there seems to be a determination in some quarters to ‘nail Pell’. It is also quite apparent that certain elements in the Victorian police have been ‘feeding’ some ‘journalists’ with ‘information’. BUt, as I pointed out in another reply, there has been a climate of loathing of the person of George Pell which long pre-dates the Royal Commission. The stark reality is that, even if Cardinal Pell is acquitted, the belief will remain that ‘he got away with it. They are many, including large sections of the media, who believe in Pell’s guilt because that is what they want to believe. After all, it sells news copy.

          There was another Australian bishop, Max Davis, who, formerly the Chaplain to the Australian Defence Force, who was falsely accused of sexual abuse, again, decades ago. The press was relentless in its salacious coverage of the charges and the events leading up to the trial. Butas it has been said, when Bishop max Davis was found not guilty, “the press was out to lunch, and he wondered home alone.” He is now a broken man.

          And a priest friend on mine who was accused and charged on ten counts of sex abuse, occurring allegedly many years ago. From the time of his arrest, he was front page news, and his guilt was presented as a matter of fact. It also emerged that his four accusers were coached by corrupt police officers who were obviously prepared to go to any lengths to ‘nail a Catholic priest’. But they didn’t do a very good job, because the four totally dysfunctional accusers kept changing their stories and contradicting themselves. And again. when he was acquitted of all charges, this particular news item was restricted to one small column buried in the middle of the local ‘newspaper’. The judge in this trial, who incidentally was excellent, later said that this whole case was so full of holes that it should never have gone to trial. She freely conceded that it had only gone that far because of a fiendish determination on the part of a couple of corrupt ‘detectives’ that they were ‘going to get him. They failed, but this good priest still bears the scars, and they run deep. Very deep.

          So, this is why I take great exception to the likes of SAF, who on the basis of nothing but his abysmal ignorance, contemptuously dismisses the possibility that there is any kind of ‘witch hunt’ against Cardinal George Pell. We have seen this kind of thing before, and once the damage has been done, it can never, ever be undone, irrespective of the outcome of a trial.

  6. If I’m Pell and thoroughly convinced of my own innocence, the first thing I’m going to do is call for polygraph tests all around. I’ll take one myself first then I’ll challenge my accusers to do likewise. Let’s see who’s really telling the truth and not afraid of the light.

    For some reason, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

  7. It’s amazing and quite sad, as to how many people IN THE VATICAN appear not to think that hell exists and that their souls might be the pinata of demons for ETERNITY. I know this isn’t new. It’s how we got the not so sweet strains of Marty Luther and his Reformation Band (Happy 500th, Francis!!) Still, even though the church will triumph in the end I think we’re heading into some kind of reset both for the church and wretched humanity as a whole that’s going to make WWII look like Disneyland by comparison. And, of course, Francis, enamored of globalist nonsense, is more concerned about climate change than doing to Consecration of RUSSIA as our Lord and our Lady asked for. We never learn, do we?? Kyrie Eleison Christe Eleison

    • If Russia got consecrated and the world had peace, NWO won’t likes it that’s a reason why rather concerning and concentrating more about climate change than making the boss angry. Please God, cleanse the Church. They don’t believe in You at all.

  8. The charges against Pell have come from the Australian Police and justice authorities. For the record, are we saying here that their actions have been directed by persons unknown inside or outside the Vatican, but certainly from outside Australia?

    • We’re saying that there is motive both within the Vatican and in Australia to take down Pell, and that those interests may recently have aligned.

      People I’ve talked to who know Pell’s inner circle say that the media in OZ have been going after him for about 15 years. He’s not well liked by his brother bishop in Melbourne, so the story goes, and now he’s made enemies in Rome.

      Sexual abuse charges, as any lawyer will tell you, are the hardest to prosecute because there’s no physical evidence. Make that 40 year old charges, and things get even dicier. (Just read a thing on Mundabor that doesn’t cite any sources but is pretty savage about the character of the alleged victims.)

      Using allegations like this to destroy people is easy and fairly popular. So while the charges certainly may be true, if they aren’t, a concerted effort to push them forward (particular if alleged victims are being paid) is certainly not outside the realm of possibility, and the effect will be not much less brutal than guilt.

      • Yep, I see all that (but would discount a great deal of whatever Mundabor might say. Even I can’t bear his sheer nastiness). My question is whether the “alignment” you talk about between Vatican forces seeking Pell’s overthrow and the Australian justice officials is coincidental, or suggests direct contact or collusion between them. Don’t suppose we will ever know.

  9. It seems like the people who are being cast out of the investigatory function have little or no way to defend themselves, and it certainly does nothing to encourage others to take up the cause, Once again, there are PLENTY of things that Pope Francis should provide some answers for- in between his opinions on the Free Market, ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Social Justice’…. 🙁

  10. “…the pope seems to have a tendency to surround himself with compromised men.”

    Ann Barnhardt has an article saying pretty much the same thing here.

  11. All of this can be summarised in one simple fact. Pope Francis was out to reform the Vatican finances. Price Waterhouse Coopers was asked to audit the accounts. Pope Francis allowed the audit to be pulled. Any public commercial firm that cancelled an audit would be suspended on the Stock Exchange because it would be seen as fundamentally corrupt and dishonest. The Vatican, at least as far as finance is concerned, is fundamentally corrupt and dishonest.

    Again Pope Francis appoints Libero Milone as Auditor General in 2015. Milone now resigns. Why was he allowed to resign instead of being backed up to the hilt by Pope Francis? Is it because the great reformer is essentially a fake – a South American politician who is quite happy to give in to corruption?

  12. Steve, though you didn’t mention this, everyone knows that the forced resignation of Benedict XVI was engineered through huge financial pressures (like the Vatican’s SWIFT system connection closing) so that it would be mandatorily followed by the election of Card. Bergoglio and nobody else, once enough vote promises had been gathered by the St Gallen “mafia” during the ensuing conclave.
    It looks now obvious that the financial pressures and the election of Bergoglio are very closely linked in a twofold plot against the Church orchestrated by specific dark forces inside and outside the Church as Mgr Luigi Negri described them, or the “powers and principalties” so named by St Paul.

    • I actually mentioned that specifically. Quoted a scholar who wrote a report on it this year, and then said:

      “One of the lesser-known factors in the abdication of Pope Benedict is that in the days before his statement of resignation, banking within the Vatican had become all-but-impossible. The situation was a result of intentional pressure brought to bear against the Vatican — pressure some say was used to force the Vatican to clean up its financial corruption and comply with international banking standards, and others believed amounted to a form of blackmail against the person of the pope.”

  13. Skeleton-rattling (Pavlovian style to obtain the desired result/behavior) is a fine-art, a specialty (even an industry) in certain parts of the world, and various strata of the administrative state. For some time South America has been en-cultured within, organized according to such rattling. For some reason (a bit of a mystery, really) being a Catholic continent has not vaccinated South America from the totalitarian habits of cronyism and control via blackmail. The place has, in fact, calibrated the rattling arts (industry) to a fine degree. Especially Argentina.

    So why was Peter’s Chair entrusted to someone whose political and cultural habits of mind and relations were the warp & woof of a such a place.

    For me, the selection of Francis (B.) has the feel of a Fidel (C.) scenting the specialized Argentinean skills of a Che (G.) about it; of a German Nazi resettlement campaign nestled (*rat-lined*) among the pampas grass.

    So why is anyone surprised that this papacy has collected the skeleton-rattlers & rattled ecclesiastical skeletons it has (does, and will)?

  14. I watched the ABC interview and there were three persons that came forward and none of them had anything to say that remotely sounded like they were victims I am not sure what the charges are supposed to be. Clearly the men that came out and spoke were of no use as far as information goes. ABC had them speak about a lot of things that were unfortunate and very emotional but had absolutely nothing to do with Cardinal Pell. If this is all they have it is clearly a farce and has no bearing on reality other than Satan vs. God. By all means let me know if I’ve missed something.

    • I just watched the ABC interview because of your comment. I think that is very specific. Here are direct quotes taken from the interview:

      Mr. Monument “The hand on my crotch would cover my penis and testicles and would cover my anus area.” “this happened on about “half” of the “20 or so occasions” “”He would also place his hand under the shorts and underpants that I was wearing. His fingers would touch my penis and testicles on these occasions as he rocked me up and down”

      Mr. Dignan Father Pell would “grab you, around the testes, around the anus”. “Scared but hurt — very forceful around the anus,”

      Mr. Mooney “He would grab you, have his hands on your backside”

      All 3 men also cite issues in the changing room. Mr. Monument “He’d undress and then he’d say to us to undress and so we’d undress and then he’d dry your testicles and in between your bum and stuff like that, and he was naked”

      Your statement “ABC had them speak about a lot of things that were unfortunate and very emotional but had absolutely nothing to do with Cardinal Pell.” is not consistent with the interview. You seem to be filtering information very selectively. There was a prolonged part, customary for lawyers to show “damages”, where the men talked about their substance abuse and mental problems from the alleged incident. That seems to have blotted out your memory of the fairly specific allegations.

      I’m not saying Mr. Pell is guilty, but there are very simple specific allegations here, and to say otherwise is a little duplicitous. Also, the interview stated all the allegations were first made 4 years ago, so this would seem unrelated to Pope Francis or the Vatican Bank, at least in origin.

      Of course, ABC showed the gayest pictures they could find of Cardinal Pell as a young man too.

      I don’t know how you’d prove or disprove something like this at this point. But as the original article said, it doesn’t matter. Pell is done. I just found it doubtful reading your comment that ABC would error nothing, and that there was nothing to compel the Australian government to press forward. And when I went to the interview, I found quite specific charges. About Pell. Contrary to your post. That’s all. No offense meant, just wanted to set the record straight.

      • Could you provide a link. The interview I watched did not include any such details. In fact it was nowhere near that. Thanks for your help.

      • I just watched the entire interview again and you have your words totally incorrect, at no time did they ever say he reached underneath their pants and grab their testicles and penis they said that he touched them on the outside of the pants when he’s picking them up to throw them in the pool both men are clearly involved in an alternative agenda.

        Don’t feel bad about that most people fall for the interview and think the worst because it is a typical brainwashing technique that is used.

        The reporter lead the witnesses through the entire video made some really horrific statements that had no bearing on Father Pells case like I said it is very emotional very drawn-out and they have nothing on him.

        At least not in this interview, if you find something that has some actual evidence with people that are being honest let me know I would like to see it I for one want to know what happened if I can see the interview then I can tell what’s going on. I pay close attention to them and I analyze them very closely but these fellows are in it for the money just like the reporter. If this is all there is then I would have to say at this point that Father pell is innocent.

  15. I certainly hope these allegations aren’t true. Obviously, if they are the truth needs to come out and then what needs to be done must be done… that said, it sounds like things are almost deliberately stacked against the cardinal, and he has been the only “orthodox” prelate left in a position of power. The timing of this around Cardinal Mueller leaving is odd though. The head of the curial office tasked with handling sex abuse let go the same week that Cardinal Pell has these charges raised against him? Seems odd. Seems very odd.

  16. We will probably never know what is truth or not in this situation. Guilt or innocence. At this point, it seems as if a “fair trial” in a court of law will be next to impossible. The “trial” has already taken place in the media. I do know this with absolute certainty: there will be a “fair trial” in the next life (i.e., mortal sin, final judgment, heaven, hell/ lake of fire, God, Satan — all doctrines that apparently few in the hierarchy of the Vatican believe in).

    God will judge rightly and woe to anyone who does not repent and avail oneself of the forgiveness and mercy offered in this present life. Justice, many times, does not happen here on this earth. That will be rectified at the Great White Throne. And I full expect the media reporters, the detectives, the accusers, the Vatican officials, the bank officials, Cardinal Pell, Francis, et al. will all have their “day in court.” Lord have mercy.

  17. Of course — knowing nothing of the facts — we can all say that Card. Pell has done nothing wrong . . . because he’s, like, a doctrinal conservative . . . and, because he will, at times, traipse around in the incense wearing the frillies . . . and, because some people have still learned NOTHING from the “Maciel Affair.” I’m more amenable to an Australian Court sorting this one out.

  18. Yup, the whole thing is born of fear and is aimed at destroying his reputation. The incident with the Vatican Bank was deliberately orchestrated by the Freemasons, working through “gay-lobby” cardinals, to force Benedict XVI out of office in 2012. It’s called power-politics. As soon as Benedict was out, the storm calmed. The same culprits are generating this detraction against Pell. We are witnessing the Third Secret of Fatima in high gear. Satan has entered upon the highest realms of the hierarchy and is using it to destroy the Church.

  19. The public, Catholics among them, is most concerned about really dirty money…kids, drugs, weapons. Some also want to know about “charities” pretending to be Catholic but in name only. There are still a few ‘my church right or wrong’ members, but their numbers are shrinking every day. Somehow the news has gotten out that God cares about morals and can handle His money very well without crime, thank you very much. Otherwise, faith is dead anyway.

  20. I’m starting to think maybe he was guilty. The first charges were 4 years ago and pretty specific. The bigger question is why would hire such a comprimised man to oversee the Vatican Bank clean-up, unless you wanted to be able to remove him should he be audacious enough to try to do the job?


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