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.
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