After a silent six months, the Pell haters are back on task, following the Cardinal's return to Rome. The Cardinal's exoneration by the High Court will not satisfy many of us who are still determined to see that those who sought his crucifixion are themselves brought to justice. The story just got murkier.
George Pell is seldom out of the news, even when he is simply taking a pretty uneventful plane ride. All masked up, of course, as per the requirements of the era of the Branch Covidians.
In this uber-attention from the corporate media, Pell is a lot like Tony Abbott, that other much maligned, medieval queer-fish upon whom massive and overwhelming negative focus is visited. Abbott only has to break wind ten thousand miles away to score column inches in the press, along with the obligatory hit piece on the ABC. The fixation is also a little like the progressivists’ response to the US President’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Practising Catholics who actually believe in the teachings of their Church are simply beyond the pale, and not remotely understood by their peers in today’s world of vilification and cancel culture.
But, despite all the efforts by the progressivists’ finest over decades, they just can’t cancel George! He just bounces back like a punching Bop Bag.
The Post High Court Exoneration Phase
The Guardian/ABC types have had little to crow over since the survivor group graffitists sprayed epithets all over the walls of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne upon Pell’s exoneration and release from prison back in April. A few twitter sprays and silent grumpiness notwithstanding, the networks that “got Pell” have largely been content to allow the Cardinal to get on with the beginning of the rest of his life, post his career decimation at their own soiled hands.
There was the initial surliness of Daniel Andrews, defiant in the face of the High Court’s smashing of his own justice system. “We believe you”, he said, flying in the face of all the evidence, and the lack of it, that most outside the Victorian survivor bubble could see. The appalling Louise Milligan twittered about hugging your children. Really? The octogenarian John Laws, still on radio unbelievably, had one or two defamatory words. The “victim” had his brief say. Threats of civil actions, always empty, were made, albeit briefly and seemingly without serious follow-up. Police leakers mumbled about yet more allegations against Pell for a week or so. Then, not a further word. Another book, with its conclusion hurriedly and no doubt sullenly rewritten, appeared courtesy of a Guardian reporter. Another biased, tawdry journalist on the make. Some clung to the hope that Pell would be the subject of a canon law trial in Rome. No such luck, I am afraid.
Finally, there was hope that the Royal Commission was going to ping the cardinal for “what he knew” about other old cases of alleged and real sex abuse in Victoria. They tried to, without evidence, and that story was a twenty-four hour wonder at best.
Even David Marr has given up the fight, I think. Of course, the ABC will NEVER give up its pursuit of the Catholic Church and of Pell personally.
Thanks to forensic analyses by sharp legal minds such as Chris Merritt and Frank Brennan, and less objective but still powerful encomia from international figures like Pell’s friend George Weigel, the media treatment in Australia and overseas after the High Court’s decision was largely even-handed. (Most overseas observers of serious standing had always believed in George Pell’s innocence, and were horrified at the charges and the first two verdicts. Most in the Vatican who knew Pell thought the charges farcical. Many thought that it was actually Australia’s system of justice that was on trial).
Some pointed out the blindingly obvious need for a complete cleaning of the excrement out of the whole Victorian law enforcement and criminal justice systems. The two majority judges in the Pell appeal were no doubt squirming in their seats, in the view of many lucky to still be employed.
The chief copper in Ashton’s circus, now mercifully retired, suggested without the remotest sense of plausibility or credibility that Victoria Police never “targeted” individuals. Clearly he didn’t think that Operation Tethering was the targeting of an individual. Or all the trawling for witnesses. Or the advertising for complainants. Or sending an assistant commissioner to Rome to personally oversee the interviewing of Pell. Or the failure to interview key witnesses. Or the coaching of the victim over some years. Or the strategic leaking to sympathetic media outlets ahead of key events relating to the Cardinal.
Other Pell observers and Pell War combatants, no doubt, were in shock, one way or another. Since then, nothing.
Cardinal Pell is Back
On the Cardinal’s side, there has been quite a bit. First there was a humble article from the Cardinal in First Things about his year in prison.
There will also be a full book length treatment to come in the New Year. The manuscript has been described by Fr Joe Fessio, publisher of Ignatius Press, in glowing terms. According to Fessio:
I’ve already read the first half of the journal and it is extraordinary. I think it’s going to be a spiritual classic. The entire journal is about 1000 pages…
Fessio also noted the broader significance of the Pell exoneration:
This is not just about Cardinal Pell. His victory was not just a victory for one man. It was a victory for the Church. And not just the Church in Australia. It revealed to all the world just how far the Church’s enemies will go and how deceitful they will be to discredit her.
Then there was the cracker interview with Andrew Bolt, again, full of forgiveness, meekness and acres of the renowned Pell common touch.
There has been a conference speech or two, delivered by Zoom as per the “new normal”.
There have been articles in the Catholic media, and interviews as well. None more important or revealing than that given to The Catholic Weekly’s Monica Doumit in August 2020.
The Catholic media readership are no doubt relieved to have “their” Cardinal back and in form, uncowed by the years of persecution and calumny, a disgraceful media that simply refused to do their job, a justice system that failed him until it was almost too late, and false imprisonment with thugs and murderers. At least the thugs and murderers cheered when the news of Pell’s exoneration came through.
And now, six months on from the High Court’s exoneration and the prison release, we have “the trip”.
The Rome Trip
Pell’s triumphant return to Rome is no doubt motivated by the fact that Rome was his most recent home, other than Spencer Street Melbourne and Barwon Prison. Rome is where his friends and colleagues largely are, and where the bulk of his personal items are. The trip has naturally caused a combination of curiosity and angst, just like everything else he does. No doubt the recent departure from the Vatican of one of his erstwhile Roman curial critics – the sacked Cardinal Becciu – has added to the spice.
As the National Catholic Register in the USA reported:
“The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances … and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments,” Cardinal Pell stated in reference to his brother cardinal’s dismissal. “I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria [Australia].”
This amounts to a complete vindication of the Cardinal at each end of the world. Neat bookends and a nice homecoming present from across the Tiber.
The despondent local Pell haters here have struggled to find a nasty angle on the Rome trip, but not for want of trying. According to one American left wing, diatribist organ owned by a Democrat billionnaire, the “disgraced” cardinal “slithered” back into Rome. Disgraced? Slithered? Here are seven paltry attempts at local denigration:
- He has no real reason to be there now – so why did he go?
- His return will cause mixed feelings in Rome – they don’t want him back;
- He previously said he wasn’t returning to Rome – he is a liar;
- He is a formerly jury-convicted sex abuser – so there (surely that is defamatory, Lucie Morris Marr?);
- How on earth did he obtain government permission to travel – he is unjustifiably privileged;
- He is returning to yet another Vatican financial scandal – so it must have something to do with Pell;
- Pell was heckled by a Melbourne woman in Rome – we still hate him and he has no escape.
Each of these pathetic attempts at spin is either inaccurate or irrelevant or both.
Why People Cling to Rubbish Beliefs
Now, there are four possible explanations for people clinging to patently false beliefs, of refusing to admit they were just wrong about something. In particular, they may help to explain why the Pell haters and their useful idiots have come out of their bunkers over the past few days. These are the reasons they simply cannot let go, and the reasons that they have to keep searching to find something new and damning to say about the man.
The first explanation is virtue signalling. It is the need perpetually to vent their defiant-in-the-face-of-evidence, “we believe you” gesturing. They just cannot let it go because of their innate noble cause sanctimony. They are in endless campaign mode for the victims, if not of Pell, then of all the other perpetrators, alleged and real.
The second explanation is ideological blindness. It is what I have elsewhere argued is the path dependent, ideology-driven compulsion to believe and say stupid things because your belief system and world view demand that you believe and say things that might conform to the ideology but which simply don’t pass the smell test. This drives many of the bizarre and easily disproven climate alarmist claims.
The third explanation is groupthink. It is hard to admit you were wrong, and to change your mind, even in the face of new evidence, when the mob’s view is going in a particular direction. Saying unpopular things that are true is not everyone’s calling. Whether being a contrarian is career threatening, or merely socially awkward, there are powerful forces at work that deter courageous speaking out – on so many topics. The almost universal anti-Catholicism of our secular age makes those of us who do speak out on subjects like George Pell’s innocence into modern day martyrs. Most people do not enjoy public attacks in the face of stating unpopular truths. It is easy to go along with the crowd, even when, as writers from Charles McKay to Douglas Murray have noted, there is a madness to crowds.
If one thinks of Paul Graham’s four quadrants of conformism, from aggressively conformist, through passively conformist, to passively non-conformist and on to aggressively non-conformist, the easy path in the era of cancel culture is surely to keep schtum on hard subjects and go with the flow.
And groupthink can generally survive new, compelling evidence quite easily, alas. Most people are intellectually lazy when it comes to questioning their own, or society’s majority views.
The fourth explanation is hubris. It is the sheer inability of public and semi-public figures to admit they were wrong. Once you have decided you are wrong about something, you have two choices – either to admit you were wrong, or to double down and move mountains to prove that you were right, even when you know that you weren’t. You simply have to keep believing it, despite your nagging doubts, or worse. You have simply invested too much in your belief to now let go. Pell did it! Some call this cognitive dissonance.
It is also an example of man’s greatest sin, the sin of pride. Not everyone has the humility and plain common sense of J M Keynes, who famously stated:
When I'm wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?
The sin of pride has been on full global display, of course, in this most miserable of years, 2020. The whole reason that much of the world remains under Covid-inspired house arrest, with basic rights and freedoms decimated and economic prospects forlorn is simply the fact that decision-makers cannot publicly say “we were wrong”. Saying “I have changed my mind” is one of the three basic tenets of science. The science that so many now claim they are following. (The other two are, as Alistair Haimes has pointed out, “prove it” and “I don’t know”). Yet the words “I was wrong” are words that politicians and those who take strong public positions on issues seem quite unable to utter.
It is the same with the Pell-obsessed. Many, who should know better, simply cannot accept that he was innocent. Oops, there I go. He got off on a technicality. He cannot be said to have been innocent! Just found not guilty. And convicted by a jury. I guess the Pell haters will always have that.
Tony Abbott is STILL a homophobic misogynist. Now even to the Poms! Not for Abbott’s critics the admission that there was never the remotest evidence in relation to either charge. There is no peace for Abbott, even in retirement. His enemies, just like those of Pell, are compelled never to let go of their ideologically driven hatreds. And certainly never to apologise.
Then, of course, there are the Amy Barrett vilifiers who are programmed ever to shout spittle-flecked insults. Amy Barrett belongs to a cult. Obviously she didn’t rape anyone so we cannot run that line. But she isn’t just Catholic. She is weird Catholic. She believes it. Like me and many others, she believes that life begins at conception, and, shock, horror, she has actually said so. In writing. Let’s get her!
Barrett acts out her faith, and much like George Pell and Tony Abbott understand that this has consequences. Like Abbott, she does not allow her beliefs to stop her doing her day job. Like Pell, she rides out the endless, vile abuse with a dignity, serenity and sense of forgiveness that others might do well to emulate. While all the while remaining firm in her convictions.
The haters just cannot stand that.
Complete Justice for George Pell Means Cleaning the Stables in Victoria
A man of dignity, suffering much as his life was all but destroyed and his reputation plundered, George Pell has chosen not to gloat and not to seek revenge. Not for Pell the hubris that was surely his due. Not the least sign of bitterness. Nor of revenge. Merely mild suggestions that the Victorian justice system, VicPol and the ABC might have a few questions to answer.
Pell’s controlled and understated response to the sacking of Becciu conformed to his normal style of understated dignity. But observers in Australia would have also noted his hope that the “cleaning out of the stables” would reach from Rome to Melbourne.
The energetic and principled Victorian MP Bernie Finn, a staunch supporter of the Cardinal’s, has advocated an independent inquiry into the whole Pell saga and in particular the conduct of the police and the justice system in Victoria.
It is to the Australian Church hierarchy’s eternal shame that it has not been vocal in supporting Finn’s call. Indeed, the Church hierarchy should be leading the charge. Then again, it wasn’t exactly vocal during the Cardinal’s 404 days in prison, preferring to fence-sit.
While ever Daniel “Kim Jong Dan” Andrews remains at what is left of Victoria’s “helm”, any reform of that State’s justice system will be over his dead body.
Yet his dead body, at least politically speaking, may not be all that far away. The resignation of Andrews’ Health Minister and the subsequent tirade against him in the press from his branch stacking former minister Adem Somyurek, which acknowledged what we already know – that Andrews is a meglomaniacal dictator posing as a well meant, though thoroughly confused and out-of-his-depth, democratic politician – suggests that his own days may be numbered. Even former VicPol commissioners are now publicly slagging Andrews, “who thinks he is God”. This, of course, we knew. What is different is that more and more people of public standing in Victoria are saying it out loud.
George Pell might just get his soberly expressed wish for the Victorian stables to be cleaned out, come November, when not one but two potential bombshells are due to go off. There is the McMurdo Royal Commission into VicPol corruption over Lawyer X, and then there is the report of the quarantine inquiry. Both are potentially political dynamite. Victoria, already staggering under house arrest and police thuggocracy and facing a crippled economy as a result of government bungling and hubris in the face of a virus it foolishly thinks it can “defeat”, will be exposed this side of Christmas as nothing more than a corrupt, incompetent enclave which has become a total embarrassment to the Commonwealth of Australia.
There is still a long way to go for the supporters of George Pell to feel that justice has been done. Especially the justice that is owed Pell’s false accusers. But, for the moment at least, it is the Get Pell brigade that is “all at see”. And all at sea as well.
New Revelations and Old Networks
The Pell story may not end here, though. In fact, it just got a whole lot murkier.
Still begging to be investigated further are the likely but yet to be proven links between the Rome branch of the Get Pell team and the Australian branch. Any Australian investigative journalist worth his salt might be expected to be interested in that story. It involves millions of euros that seem to have found their way from the Vatican to an Australian bank account.
As Andrew Bolt headlines:
Shock report in Italy's prestigious Corriera della Sera: documents linked to Cardinal Angelo Becciu, fired last week for corruption, show $1.1 million was sent to Australia to people so far unnamed.
The transaction took place at the time of Pell’s trial. Of course it did. The Cardinal himself is all over this. The estimable Edward Pentin notes:
Several sources have said Cardinal Pell, who returned to Rome on Wednesday, has conducted his own investigation into possible links between Vatican officials and false allegations against him of sexual abuse, and that his findings will also be part of any upcoming hearing.
The Register asked the cardinal if he could confirm he had made his own inquiries but he declined to comment “at this stage.”
Pentin confirms the original Italian media story:
… according to Msgr. Alberto Perlasca — a Secretariat of State official who worked under Cardinal Becciu during the period from 2011 to 2018 when the cardinal served as the Secretariat of State’s sostituto (its deputy secretary of state) — Cardinal Becciu was known to “use journalists and contacts to discredit his enemies.”
“It is precisely in this vein that the payment in Australia would have been made, possibly in connection with Pell’s trial,” the article claimed.
The newspaper stated in the article that it had not obtained confirmation that Cardinal Becciu was personally responsible for the Australian bank transfer, or who the beneficiaries of the transaction were, and consequently was investigating these matters further.
A Vatican source with detailed knowledge of the matter confirmed the contents of the Corriere della Sera report to the Register on Oct. 2, and the existence of the bank transfer to Australia. “The year and date of the transfer are recorded in the archives of the Secretariat of State,” the source said.
Like any good historian who poses the questions who, when and why, such a journalist might want to do a little digging, not least of all to find out who owned that bank account. My guess, and possibly Andrew Bolt’s, is that the account was opened at a bank branch south of the Murray and north of Bass Strait.
What would be far worse than a bunch of ex- and anti-Catholic feminists, corrupt police, priest chasing lawyers and their twitterati boosters (like Lyndsay Farlow), sad and revengeful abuse survivor groups and bungling, clueless magistrates and judges all doing their bit to hound an innocent prelate, would be if someone in that mix or outside it was getting illicit Roman money to drive the witch-hunt and to ensure its success.
As George Pell himself told Andrew Bolt, a number of high up people in the Vatican firmly believe that links from Rome to Melbourne were not merely possible, but rather were inevitable. And it isn’t only Vatican observers who suspect this. Kathy Clubb has outlined the case at Family Life International.
The American author and columnist Rod Dreher agrees there must be a connection:
In 2014, Pell was given by Pope Francis responsibility for cleaning up the infamously corrupt Vatican Bank. When that news broke, I thought, “They’ll find some way to take him out. They won’t let him do it.” When the child abuse charges were brought against Pell in 2017, I thought, “So that’s how they did it.”
And it might just be another mafia embedded in Rome that had Pell in its sights. No less controversial a figure than Milo Yiannopoulos has weighed in:
As the author of a book on Vatican corruption, I know there are almost no depths to which the progressive Catholic hierarchy will not sink to damage its political enemies. And Cardinal George Pell is the most repellent person imaginable to the so-called ‘lavender mafia’ of powerful left-wing gay bishops in Rome.
Pell is the feisty, plain-spoken son of a heavyweight boxer; he has a track record of financial prudence and he championed the cause of abuse victims long before Rome took the problem seriously. In short, he’s everything the progressive Left and the corrupt Roman curia hate.
And boy, did he make enemies when Pope Francis appointed him to reform the Vatican Bank, one of the most cataclysmically mismanaged financial institutions in the world.
Pell was brought in because he almost single-handedly rescued the Sydney and Melbourne dioceses from bankruptcy, but, as he began to unravel the multi-billion dollar corruption and venality in Rome, he was abruptly – conveniently, you might say – summoned back to Australia to defend himself against sex abuse charges.
The moment he left the Vatican, his bank reforms stalled, and the sinister forces controlling the Catholic church seized the reins again.
The Vatican/homosexual connection has long been the subject of discussion, not least in the also controversial, possibly scurrilous but eminently readable book by the Frenchman Frederic Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality and Hypocrisy (2019). Equally scathing but from a more orthodox Catholic position is Taylor Marshall’s Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within (2019), endorsed by the hugely respected Bishop Athanasius Schneider in a foreword to the book.
Yes indeed, George Pell had multiple enemies in Rome. Perhaps he still does. But who were involved at the Australian end? Rod Dreher has also noted:
When I was in Australia … I found myself in a conversation one evening with someone about all this. (I had a lot of Pell conversations, as you might imagine.) I shared with my interlocutor my suspicion that Pell was set up to take him off the Vatican Bank case. The man across the table said, “That’s interesting. You may not know it, but the ‘Ndrangheta is quite well established in Australia, especially in Victoria. That’s where the cardinal was charged.”
The ’Ndrangheta is the Calabrian mafia, and yes, they are well established in Australia. They control organized crime on Australia’s East Coast, and are said to have infiltrated every part of the Australian establishment. With that in mind, here’s an interesting bit of news, from the Irish Times, Nov. 16, 2013:
Senior Calabrian Mafia investigator Nicola Gratteri, whose investigative zeal has forced him to live with police protection since 1989, has said the pope’s plans to reform Vatican structures, including the Vatican bank, the IOR, could prove a problem for the ’Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful Mafia.
We know all about the close connections between the Australian mafia(s) and Australian police forces through the Woodward Royal Commission, the Colin Winchester affair, Whitlam Government minister Al Grassby and the killings of Donald Mackay and John Newman. (For a graphic depiction of the history of the Calabrian mafia in Australia, see Clive Small and Tom Gilling, Evil Life: The True Story of the Calabrian Mafia in Australia, 2016).
As a footnote on Al Grassby, the “father of multiculturalism” in Australia, Keith Moor noted in 2005 after Grassby’s death:
The detective who arrested controversial federal MP Al Grassby 18 years ago claims the National Crime Authority bowed to political pressure not to fully investigate his mafia links.
Retired NCA senior investigator Bruce Provost said he had no doubt the Whitlam Labor government minister was paid to commit crimes and do favours for the Calabrian mafia.
Speaking publicly for the first time about the NCA’s inquiry, Mr Provost said Mr Grassby was firmly in the mafia’s pocket.
He said there was more than enough intelligence on Mr Grassby to warrant a full investigation, but he was held back by the NCA.
So yes, the Calabrian mafia does exist in Australia. My wordy, yes. And George Pell was indeed the mafia’s number one Vatican enemy in Rome. Always the question “who benefits from x” should be front and centre.
It is not just a potential mafia connection, though.
We know from past history the close ties between VicPol and the freemasons on the one hand, and the Catholics on the other. The awful protection given by VicPol officers and magistrates back in the day to the paedophile Monsignor John Day was exposed in all its glory by Peter Hoysted (aka Jack the Insider) and Denis Ryan in their book Unholy Trinity.
Only recently LifeSite News reported on the masonic connection with VicPol and the possible involvement of one Luke Cornelius, the same copper who routinely defends thuggery and insults Victorians who dare to protest against the Covid lockdowns (“boofheads”; “batshit crazy”; “dogs returning to their vomit”).
We know too that the politicised Victorian police are very, very Labor Party friendly. Just ask Bill Shorten. Or Daniel Andrews. Or Julia Gillard.
After all, it was Julia Gillard, no doubt with the support of her priest chasing lawyer mate and inaugural CEO of Emily’s List Vivian Waller, who set up the Royal Commission whose not-so-hidden task was to get Pell. The same Julia Gillard not investigated by Victoria Police for matters related to Bruce Wilson, Slater and Gordon, the Australian Workers’ Union, another Royal Commission and a five thousand dollar wad of cash.
A conspiracy theory? Or simply recognition of the way the world of deals, debts owed, paybacks and hidden networks actually operates. We know already of two distinct networks, one in Rome and one in Melbourne, determined to silence and to ruin George Pell.
Gerard Wilson has an excellent summary of the main Australian players.
And, as noted above, Kathy Clubb has exposed the Roman players.
What are the links between them, if any? And is there a third, hidden, network in the background, perhaps involved in linking the two we already know about.
The questions now become – who did the transacting? Who in Australia benefited from Pell’s destruction, and therefore from the transaction? Was the transaction payoff for services rendered?
The story continues, the plot thickens …