One of the big promises Francis made when became Pope was to clean up the pedophilia scandal. Now, it turns out that one of his closest advisers was heavily involved:
Well into Pope Francis’s pontificate, one of his closest aides, the third-highest official in the Catholic Church, Cardinal George Pell, has now been credibly accused of several acts of sexual assault, including one of rape. Australian police have concluded that the evidence they have is sufficient to move forward, even in cases that happened long ago. Yesterday, Pell was allowed to hold his own press conference at the Vatican to tell us that he spoke with the Pope only a few days ago about a campaign of “character assassination” against him: “I’m very grateful to the Holy Father for giving me this leave to return to Australia.” The Pope’s spokesperson defended the Cardinal by saying that “it is important to recall that Cardinal Pell has openly and repeatedly condemned as important and intolerable acts of abuse committed against minors.” And, of course, we should respect a presumption of innocence before a trial on crimes of this magnitude and depravity.
But it all feels sickeningly familiar. And this denouement comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has been following the sex-abuse crisis in the church — including Cardinal Pell’s own behavior — for the last few decades. A cloud has hung over Pell since he was an Episcopal vicar in a parish in the 1970s that has been described as a “pedophile’s paradise and a child’s nightmare.” A full 15 years ago, Pell was accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy but when the church investigated, a retired Supreme Court justice found that there wasn’t enough evidence, even though the victim appeared to be “speaking honestly from actual recollection.” A year later, Pope John Paul II made Pell a cardinal. Several new alleged victims spoke out in a book published only last month.
In 2015, Australia’s Channel 9 ran a 60 Minutes segment that can only be called horrifying. In it, one of Francis’s own appointees to investigate sex abuse, Peter Saunders, described Pell’s record on sexual abuse as “almost sociopathic.” Pell had a “catalogue of denials … a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness,” Saunders said on camera. “I would go as far to say that I consider him to be quite a dangerous individual.” The report revealed a pattern of concealment of sex-abuse cases, callousness toward the victims, offers of pathetically small settlements, and testimony demonstrating that Pell moved around a pedophile priest for years who was later convicted of 138 counts of indecent assault and child sexual abuse. That priest, the notorious Gerald Ridsdale, even allegedly raped two of his own nephews. Who was his roommate and close friend in the 1970s? Who publicly accompanied him to his trial in a show of support? One George Pell — who has long insisted he hadn’t a clue what his close friend was up to. In fact, Pell once accused the police and an Australian broadcaster of criminal conspiracy against him. As he did yesterday, he responded with outrage that anyone could ever even dream of such a thing.
What I cannot understand is why Pope Francis chose to advance this man under this cloud so high up the hierarchy. If Pell is found guilty, Francis will have advanced an accused abuser of children to the highest echelon in the Vatican. Far from cleaning the church of this evil, he will have contaminated it at its very apex. That’s why this case is indeed a watershed for Catholicism and Francis himself. If Francis can turn a blind eye to this, we can trust no one.
Francis has made little progress in cleaning up either the Curia or the pedophilia problem, but he certainly finds time to spout off about “global warming” being a sin. This is because he is a liberal; and like most other liberals he’s incapable of governing and dealing with serious issues, and can only handle made-up ones, like “global warming.”