I hadn’t been giving the case for, or against George Pell a lot of thought. Priest, Catholic Church, paedaphile, victim of child abuse. – when these things are mentioned in the same sentence, if you’re like me, your mental verdict without conscious thought is, Guilty! You won’t put a moments thought into thinking that sometimes the accused can be a victim as well. I don’t think I could see a priest at all now without wondering if he’s a paediphile. But is this thought process fair? Possibly there are more priests that aren’t child abusers than those that are. Perhaps my pre-conceived ideas are shared by the majority, and such thought processes cannot possibly mean an unbiased court case.
Does a day (or few weeks) in Court always mean the correct verdict is always reached? Do the jurors ever get it wrong?
I’ve taken a bit of time to read about the George Pell case, but only after his guilty verdict was handed down. Before I go any further though at playing the Devils advocate, let me state catorgorically that I am not a catholic, nor have I ever been one. I’m not religious at all. I generally have a dislike for religion, but I do acknowledge that a spiritual belief system, without fundamentalism is, for some people very therapeutic and therefore can be a good thing. For myself though I have no need of such beliefs, and after much logical thought define myself to be a staunch atheist. I can’t see any difference in believing that some supreme being will rise us up from the dead so as we can reside in an everlasting paradise, than believing that Santa Claus is going to deliver us a brand new, shiny, red bike on Christmas Eve.
Ok, that now said, let’s get back to George Pell. Trying to get the facts of the case isn’t easy. I only have the media from which to gather any information, and we all know how reliable the media is! From what I can gather we have an historical case dating back more than 20 years. Charges of sexual abuse have been laid against George Pell on behalf of two men, both young teenagers at the time of the abuse. I’m tempted to say, ‘alleged abuse’ , but as a guilty verdict has been handed down I don’t think that would be appropriate. One of those men has since passed away, but from all accounts he seems to have denied any sexual abuse to his parents. I gather that the charges on behalf of both men are based fully on the word of only the one man.
That then leaves us with the word of one man against another man. There are no witnesses, there is no forensic evidence either to prove, or to disprove the case against George Pell.
In years gone by, by virtue of being a priest, the victims of sexual or physical abuse at their hands were never believed. The priesthood managed to hide all manner of deviant behaviour, and even those not perpetuating the crimes against young children turned a blind eye when they saw it happening. The church itself supported the perpetrators of horrendous crimes.
Have we come full circle? Does being a priest now mean Guilty! Can a priest now get a fair trial? I’m not so sure. All I can say is that if George Pell is guilty as charged then surely there’ll be a lot more than one living victim to accuse him. Evidence suggests paediphiles are opportunistic, repeat offenders. It’ll be unlikely, and virtually inconceivable that these events are likely to be isolated, one of, offences.
One thing is for sure, no matter what the verdict is of George Pell’s appeal, in the eyes of most people he’ll be guilty. Catholic Church, priest, and paediphile, how could we not believe it to be true! Mmmmm – food for thought.