The lack of evidence hadn’t stopped a jury from finding the Cardinal guilty and hadn’t deterred two Supreme Court judges who were determined to see this man stay behind bars until he died. A third Supreme Court judge, Justice Mark Weinberg, took the courageous step of dissenting from his peers and created a two-hundred-page document in Pell’s defence, which formed the basis of his High Court appeal.
Cardinal Pell’s first night was spent at Kew in Melbourne with the Carmelite sisters. By an act of Providence, the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux, to whom the Cardinal has a great devotion, are being held in the monastery at the moment. While most Catholics aren’t able to venerate the relics due to coronavirus restrictions, the good Cardinal was able to do so in relative safety.
Melbourne awoke the next morning to the sight of hateful graffiti painted on the doors of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This Church has also been the target of many protests and an insulting light show last year.
Also targeted was the Carmelite Monastery, where a child’s tricycle was found tied to the front gates in a disturbing act of reprisal.
Tensions are still very high in this state, where many pedophiles were allowed free reign over Catholic children for decades. Some of those responsible for allowing the abuse to continue have passed on to their eternal reward - or punishment - and those who have no faith to allow them to come to terms with the horror have made Cardinal Pell the focus of their angst.
The Cardinal left Melbourne on Wednesday, followed by invasive news-crews who filmed him at every opportunity, making it nigh impossible for him to experience his new-found freedom in peace.
The response from the Catholic hierarchy to Cardinal Pell’s release has been lukewarm. The bishops here are either afraid of being labelled a pedophile-enabler, or ashamed of the Church’s past failings or perhaps have simply forgotten what it is like to speak with integrity. The eagerness of some to remember the victims overshadows whatever gratitude they have for the Cardinal’s release. One wonders if they have the same sympathy for victims of Modernism, of appalling Liturgies and of the failed Catholic Education system.
By contrast, the Archbishop of Vietnam released a whole-hearted and loving response to the news: the Vietnamese community has given vocal support to the Cardinal from the beginning. Cardinal Pell has said that he was inspired by Cardinal Thuan Van Nguyen, who was imprisoned under Vietnam’s communist regime for thirteen years.
Since Tuesday morning, there have been calls from many of Pell’s supporters for a full investigation into the Victorian police and judiciary, which allowed this vendetta to gain full steam and which sent an obviously innocent man to prison. The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews - that pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-LGBTI ‘Catholic’ - is coming under particular scrutiny.
This same man who made a secret deal with China and signed the state up for the Belt and Road Project, hasn’t held back his disdain for the opinion of the High Court. He is joined by other progressive politicians including Australia’s former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. Their contempt for the Church is palpable and their fawning compassion for ‘the victims’ is proven hypocritical by their support for sexually-abusive education programmes in schools.
Pope Francis gave a vague and ambiguous remark before his Mass last Tuesday, offered just hours after the High Court decision was announced. He said that the Mass would be offered for "those people who suffer unjust sentences resulting from intransigence." While possibly referring to the case of Cardinal Pell - intransigence hardly describes the coordinated, multi-departmental vendetta to which he was prey - it is perhaps more likely that the Pope refers to those corrupt members of the Curia who suffered under objective and honest scrutiny at the hands of Cardinal Pell.
The most interesting consequence of this development in the Cardinal’s case will be the release of the 300,000-word manuscript that he wrote while behind bars. It is said to be a history of his experience over the past few years and will no doubt shine a light onto the corruption he witnessed while in Rome. Despite the media rhetoric, it isn’t young children who should be afraid of this good man. Rather it is those luxury-loving, corrupt prelates who are no doubt presently shaking in their cosy red shoes.