How high up in the Vatican do charges of sexual abuse of minors go? Very high it appears. A jury in an Australian court unanimously convicted Cardinal George Pell - the No. 3 figure in the Vatican hierarchy and former Archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne - of sexual molesting two choir boys. That's right it was a unanimous verdict. Details are scarce since the court had imposed a gag order in the case to prevent details from leaking out and potentially impacting the trial and jury. Pell had been on a "leave of absence" from his Vatican posts and now, albeit belatedly, Pope Francis has dropped him like a hot potato and removed Pell from Francis' informal cabinet (a Chilean cardinal implicated in sex abuse cover ups has likewise been dropped). As a former gay Catholic, I now wonder why I ever allowed myself to be filled with guilt and self-hate by the dictates of what is now so clearly a morally bankrupt and corrupt Church hierarchy. The Daily Beast has details on the trial and jury verdict:
The Vatican’s third most powerful official has been convicted in Australia on all charges he sexually abused two choir boys there in the late '90s, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.
A unanimous jury returned its verdict for Cardinal George Pell on Tuesday (Australian time) after more than three days of deliberations, the sources said, in a trial conducted under a gag order by the judge that prevented any details of the trial being made public.
Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief and the highest Vatican official to ever go on trial for sex abuse, left Rome in June 2017 to stand trial in Melbourne.
As that trial was about to get underway in June, a judge placed a suppression order on all press coverage in Australia, according to the order reviewed by The Daily Beast. Prosecutors applied for the order and it was granted to “prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice.” That order remains in place in Australia.
That trial, known as “the cathedral trial,” was declared a mistrial earlier this year after a hung jury, the sources say. A retrial began immediately and ended this week with the unanimous verdict.
Pell was accused by two former choir boys of sexual abuse while he was archbishop of Melbourne in the '90s. The boys sang in the choir at St. Patrick's cathedral and were allegedly abused by Pell in a room in the confines of the church. Pell’s office told The Guardian in 2017 he “repeats his vehement and consistent denials of any and all such accusations.”
Sadly, Pell is likely to be far from a lone predator in light of the resignations of two former archbishops of Washington, D.C., one of whom was credibly accused of sexual abuse of seminarians and others, and the other of whom was implicated in cover ups of sexual abuse. The Sydney Morning Herald looks at Francis dropping Pell like a hot potato. Here are excerpts:A second trial known as “the swimmers trial” is due to get underway early next year, according to sources familiar with the case. That trial is expected to hear evidence that Pell “sexually offended” two men when they were boys playing games in a swimming pool in Ballarat, Victoria.
Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his informal cabinet amid the Catholic Church's sex abuse and cover-up scandal, shedding embarrassing advisers ahead of a high-stakes Vatican summit on abuse early next year.The Vatican said on Wednesday that Francis in October had written to Cardinal George Pell and Chilean Cardinal Javier Errazuriz thanking them for their five years of service on the so-called Group of Nine, or C-9.
Their continued presence on the C-9 had been a source of scandal for Francis, given the explosion of the abuse and cover-up crisis this year. Francis himself was implicated in the scandal after he strongly defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up for the country's most notorious predator priest - a position he took apparently on the advice of Errazuriz.
No doubt right wing extreme Catholics will continue to scapegoat gays as the root cause of the sex abuse by Catholic clergy rather than admit that the real roots of the problem are : (i) the Roman rite priestly celibacy requirement , (ii) the Church's warped and ignorant 12th century dogma on sex and human sexuality, and (iii) the Church's unhealthy structure of seminary high schools and seminaries that have long guaranteed abnormal psycho-sexual development of candidates for the priesthood.Though he has been away from Rome since announcing his leave of absence in June 2017, Pell technically remains prefect of the Vatican's economy secretariat.
If one is a decent, moral Catholic, the only option is to leave the Catholic Church until such time as(A) a thorough house cleaning is done of all implicated bishops and cardinals, and (B) the Church discards its warped (and anti-woman) dogma on sex and sexuality. The Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America offer wonderful alternatives that have a Catholic like liturgy and are free from the corrupt, feudal Catholic Church hierarchy.