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COMMENTARY: The Aug. 21 ruling against Cardinal George Pell is catastrophic on multiple levels.
By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, 8/21/19
The “ring of truth.”
The two justices who denied the appeal of Cardinal George Pell Aug. 21 said that the complainant’s testimony had the “ring of truth.” If so, they were able to detect the tinkle of a sanctuary bell, even though contradictory evidence was pouring forth from the cathedral organ at top volume, with all stops pulled.
The denial of Cardinal Pell’s appeal is catastrophic for his liberty, as he was returned to prison, where he has been kept in solitary confinement for 176 days. He has been refused permission to celebrate Mass.
The ruling, delivered 2-1 by a three-judge panel of the Victorian Court of Appeal, is catastrophic on another level. A new standard is being proposed for what is required for conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges against Cardinal Pell were so outrageous as to be utterly impossible: In his first Sunday Mass in his cathedral as the new archbishop of Melbourne, he broke away from the closing procession, hastened back to the sacristy, discovered two choirboys there whom he had never met previously, sexually assaulted them in a graphic manner while still fully vested for Mass, during which time the sacristy door was open, the cathedral was still full of people milling about, and the servers and sacristans were going back and forth from the sanctuary to the sacristies.
No one saw Cardinal Pell break away from the procession, including the master of ceremonies, who was always at his side and testified to that effect. No one saw the boys break from the procession either, and several witnesses testified that they could not have done so without being noticed. ….