George Pell doesn’t get it.

George Pell doesn’t get it. Blaming the press for creating the outrage over paedophilia reveals a man who simply does not understand what is going on.

The Prime Minister of Australia has just announced the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional paedophilia, including by the Catholic Church. Cardinal Pell, Australia’s senior cleric, considers this unnecessary, but sees an opportunity to ‘clear the air, to separate fact from fiction.’

No, it’s not just about the Catholic Church, but the fact is that more than a few priests of the Catholic Church appear to have been major perpetrators of criminal activity, while pretending to be upholders of all that is good and honourable.

Cardinal Pell doesn’t get it, and he isn’t the only one. Some of his bishops probably do, and those who sit less rigidly with the structural hierarchy. It has been clear for some time that damage inflicted upon children who were sexually abused by trusted priests and laity has been compounded over many decades by the Church’s processes of evasion and denial. The effects on both victims and their families has been profound and often tragic.

The defence of the sanctity of the confessional is simply another example of George Pell’s unwillingness to face the truth about the evil in the Church’s midst; evil manifested both in the perpetration of the crimes of sexual abuse and in the evasion and cover-ups that showed a sometimes callous disregard for the innocent victims.

If the confessional has become a tool for evil, then it can never be defended.

At every point, such behaviour is a wilful rejection of the teaching of the one who should be the true head of the church, Jesus from Nazareth. Everything he taught screams in outrage against those who abuse, and those who put their reputation ahead of the need for justice.

Cardinal George Pell and his ilk just don’t get it. They are surely presiding over the destruction of the very institution they claim to serve. They also betray the many faithful women and men, priests included, who truly seek to live as disciples of Jesus

Earlier this year I wrote suggesting a way forward for the Catholic Church. If the current hierarchy don’t wake up there will be no way forward.

Ken Rookes


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