“I have always found George Pell to be a decent, honest, intelligent man” writes Amanda Vanstone in The Age.
Now, before you read on, I need to make a confession of bias.
I don’t like Amanda Vanstone. I don’t like her politics. I don’t like her opinions. And I don’t like her fellow travellers on the rabid right of politics. I’ve written a number of blogs about Amanda Vanstone.
No one reads them.
By comparison my blog Some advice for Glenn Lazarus on the mankini consistently averages around 50 hits. a week.
But I digress.
What I find so objectionable about Vanstone’s article in The Age is that she completely ignores George Pell’s alleged role in the cover-up of the activities for paedophile Catholic priests.
She dismisses the suffering of the children who are the victims of this abuse by saying
“There’s also something odd about us in that we still fail to recognise that kids are most at risk of abuse in their own home or from family and friends. We (the state) still keep hoping that bad parents and their partners will see the light. We leave kids to suffer their darkest days at the hands of those they should be able to trust. We seem to vainly hope that ‘‘it will all turn out’’.
Pointing to situations that are as bad as, or possibly worse, than that in Catholic Church, does not in any way exonerate the people have been involved in this shameful history.
She defends Pell was saying that “there’s an ugly side to humankind that occasionally reverts to animal instincts… Hunting in a pack is very primal…Now we want blood.”
People do not want blood. What they want is justice and they want to see George Pell appear before the Royal Commission. There is a justifiable sense of outrage at his evasions, and the evasions of the Catholic Church generally, and you denigrate decent people by describing them as animals simply because they are outraged at the continuing refusal of the Catholic Church to accept responsibility for what has happened.
But the most sickening aspect of this article is her recounting the story of George Pell’s generosity.
She wished to get a front row seat at a papal audience for the Filipino maid and butler at the embassy while she was ambassador to the Vatican. Pell used his influence and the maid and butler were duly installed in the first row.
Noblesse oblige. It must be wonderful to be a cardinal or an ambassador.
But it’s not wonderful to be the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests and those people who now have a chance to seek compensation for the wrongs they have suffered do not deserve to be denigrated by people like Amanda Vanstone.
So when we talk about Cardinal Pell’s generosity, do not forget that in defending the Catholic Church against the accusations of child abuse all the Pell was interested in was protecting the church’s reputation and assets.