The strange case of Cardinal Pell

There is good reason to believe that the Australian cardinal convicted of sex abuse of minors is actually innocent. From Mark Steyn:

Pell was convicted in a retrial on the word of one unidentified witness, who says that in the mid-Nineties, as a thirteen-year-old-boy, he was sexually assaulted by the Cardinal after Mass in the sacristy of Melbourne Cathedral, with the door open and congregants passing by. Or at any rate that’s what he said in the first trial. In the second, only a video of his testimony in the first trial was used. My old Telegraph boss Charles Moore comments:

Expert witnesses explained in court that Cardinal Pell, fully robed after the Mass, simply could not have performed the alleged acts because, as one report put it, it is ‘impossible to produce an erect penis through a seamless alb’. I wouldn’t know. But I do wonder how safe Pell’s conviction will prove in a case so strangely conducted and so astonishingly politicised.

He is right on that last point. And so one of Pell’s few defenders is described even by his own employer as “divisive columnist Andrew Bolt”. Back when Pell was supposedly getting erections in his seamless alb, columnists were meant to be divisive – to stir things up, set people against each other with principled and iconoclastic stands. Now we are all supposed to get on board with the official narrative – or else. More.

From Raymond D’Souza:

Under Victoria law, a judge can issue a “suppression order” that bans any and all reporting on a case if it is thought necessary to protect a trial from undue public pressure. The “suppression order,” which meant that even the charges against Cardinal Pell were not revealed until this week, more than two months after his conviction, was ostensibly to protect Cardinal Pell’s right to a fair trial.

In effect, it protected the prosecutors from having to defend the weakness of their case in the court of public opinion. If, almost two years ago, the prosecutors had had to argue in public that Cardinal Pell had raped two choirboys in a crowded cathedral immediately after Sunday Mass, there would have been at least some pressure on the Victoria attorney general to review whether mob justice was afoot, as it was last year in Australia, where Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide was convicted of covering up a sexual-abuse case. He was convicted, and though he did not want to resign before his appeal was heard, pressure from the Vatican, his brother bishops and the Australian prime minister forced him out.

Only months later, he was acquitted on appeal, with the appellate court judge ruling that the jury who convicted him was likely swayed by the public fury at the Catholic Church.

It happened again. More.

Plus, George Weigel:

Has it occurred to anyone else debating the perverse verdict rendered against Cardinal George Pell, which convicted him of “historic sexual abuse,” that the cardinal did not have to return to his native Australia to face trial? As a member of the College of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and a Vatican official, Pell holds a Vatican diplomatic passport and citizenship of Vatican City State. Were he guilty, he could have stayed put in the extraterritorial safety of the Vatican enclave, untouchable by the Australian authorities. But because Cardinal Pell knows he is innocent, he was determined to go home to defend his honor—and, in a broader sense, to defend his decades of work rebuilding the Catholic Church in Australia, the living parts of which owe a great deal to his leadership and courage.

Cardinal Pell and I have been friends for over fifty years, and in the past two and a half decades of that friendship I have been appalled at the calumnies to which he has been subjected, in both the hyper-secularist Australian media and in Church circles determined to hang on to their dreams of post–Vatican II revolution. More.

Reality check: It makes more sense than you might at first guess that those convicted are actually innocent. Pell was unpopular with Vatican power brokers because he exposed financial corruption. The media need guilty cardinals and archbishops to fan the flames and don’t care about facts. And what would be more convenient for corruptocrats at the Vatican than to feed the media precisely the whistleblowers that they are trying to get rid of? Discredits the current whistleblower and makes him an example to likeminded others.

We shall see.

See also: New scandal comes to light as Catholic Church sex abuse summit winds up