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Cardinal Pell v The Queen v Jesus v sex abuse victims — what's not to hate? 

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(Image by John Graham / @JohnGrahamArt)

Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence joins some barely visible dots, where preserving the "brand" is all that the Catholic Church seemingly cares about.


The Jesus v Rome case was dragged before the highest court in the land — and Governor Pontius Pilate washed his hands of it, inviting the blood-lusting crowd to decide between pardoning Barabbas or "the king of the Jews".

The rest is biblical history.

Jesus seemingly lucked out, but he was a godman with a plan.

Thousands of years later, in Melbourne’s lofty CBD judicial precinct, in Court 15, Jesus was still being crucified for our mortal sins.


Never more so than in what has proved to be a systemic cover-up and endemic global coven of evil within the Catholic Church.

If child sex abuse was admitted as an Olympic sport, the Church would be repeat gold medallists.

The volume of sexual abuse of children by priests and other clergy is such that through its own culpa, the Church’s "brand" has slunk into little more than a sleazy international paedophile ring of predatory priests, ultimately protected and presided over by the Vatican state itself.

As it stands on this day Anno Domini, it is a pathetic church, no longer fit for purpose for this world — nor, arguably the next. It is a church that has cast out millions of its followers from the temple, replacing them with money-grubbers and lenders, purveyors and purchasers of indemnity, political and financial usury, insurance, lawyers and suchlike, answerable to the laws of Mammon rather than those of its manipulated God.

It has strayed far from the gospels and New Testament, seemingly swapping the Bible in favour of torts.

It has long been corporatised and as a commercial entity, has actually structured its business affairs to accommodate its predilection for paedophilia by making satellite entities liable for their own transgressions and any subsequent payouts, rather than riffle the bloated coffers of the Father Church, as we witnessed in the gamechanger Ellis defence case.

From the NSW Courts website:

In the 2006 case Ellis versus Pell,Mr Ellis sought to take legal action against two defendants over the breach of fiduciary care. The first being Cardinal Pell, as head of the Archdiocese at the time, as well as the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Sydney.


The Trustees of the Archdiocese is a body corporate established under the Roman Catholic Trust Property Act 1936, which holds property for and on behalf of the church.

For centuries, the Vatican monarchy and self-ruled Roman state rendered it mostly immune from national and international law and ordnance. Palace intrigue and corruption continues unabated to this day.


In February 2017, it was revealedthat Pope Francis conceded the bleeding obvious to a 2016 gathering of the 88th General Assembly Union of Superiors General — in plain-speak, about 140 (men only) leaders of religious orders.

The Holy Father admitted to the lads that “there is corruption in the Vatican". 

But when it came to the subject of sex abuse by clergy, Francis took a lame and gutless stance.

Here’s a quote, taken from the National Catholic Reporter, with IA emphasis:

“Asked about how to prevent sexual abuse in religious orders, Francis says there is not time in their meeting for a "very articulated response" to the question.”


What? No time to discuss sexual abuse in religious orders with leaders of religious orders – not even when the two main armies of perpetrators are religious orders – and priests? Nope. Nothing to see here. Holy Father knows best. 

The NCR’s writer, Joshua J. McElwee, was actually quoting from the Jesuit magazine La Civilta, founded in 1840, and set up by Jesuits at the behest of Pope Pius IX.

It’s important to note that its editor Antonio Spadaro is a Jesuit priest like Francis. They are good mates. Spadaro is the Pope’s confidant and has unfettered access. The magazine is rightly regarded as a mouthpiece for Francis and is simpatico to the Vatican.

As the journal states:

'All authors are Jesuits and all articles have been viewed and approved by an official of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State before publication.'

For this reason, La Civiltà Cattolica has always been a window into what thoughts, policies and priorities are alive in the Apostolic See.

Stay with me, because we’re going to get down and dirty, since the truth has long been buried in toxic muck on once sacred ground.


The majority decision (2-1) by Victoria’s Court of Appeal to dismiss Pell’s appeal against convictions for the commission of sexual abuse is a chalice half empty, half full.

Whilst Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Justice Chris Maxwell, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal, both voted to dismiss the Appeal, Justice Mark Weinberg upheld it.

The judgment, delivered on 21 August, ricocheted around a transfixed world. So far, the Cardinal is the highest-ranking clergyman convicted of sexual abuse.

A phalanx of victims and media filled the expectant courtroom to await the Court’s decision, the human overflow spilling onto a pavement littered with broken hearts, but unbroken spirit; for decades haunted by unholy ghosts. Long abandoned faith in the fathers replaced with the search for a holier and more elusive grail of justice.


Cardinal George Pell, the Ice Cream Rapist,  was convicted on 11 December last year of the sexual abuse of two 13 year-old choirboys from St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir in the 1990s, almost a decade-and-a-half after he appeared as a witness in Victoria’s Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations, called by the then Baillieu Liberal government, its report completed in November 2013. Those televised proceedings gave Australians – and the world – a glimpse into the obfuscating arrogance of this autocratic man, unused to having his authority challenged and his conduct called into question.

The Appeal Court’s decision has only marginally inched forward the arduous long trudge for justice by thousands of sex abuse victims and survivors, and millions of family members, friends, supporters, activists and advocates — not just those cases involving the Catholic Church, but also those of religious and other institutions and individuals.

Describing the scene, the Guardian’s Melissa Davey wrote that Pell 'cut a dishevelled figure' in Court and that his

‘... hair had grown long, a large bald patch showing through, and he wore all black, a pop of white showing from his clerical collar. Prison has taken its toll.’

She reminded us that:

The truth was that Pell sexually assaulted two choirboys in the priest’s sacristy after Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996. Pell orally raped one of the boys during this incident and indecently assaulted both of them. Pell offended a second time against one of the boys one month later, when he grabbed the boy’s genitals in a church corridor, once more after Sunday solemn mass. He was convicted by jurors on four counts of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and one count of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16. By the time the complainant spoke to police in June 2015, the other victim had died from an accidental heroin overdose at the age of 30. His father shed tears as the appeal was dismissed.’


For your reading, here is the Court of Appeal’s full judgement in George Pell v The Queen, as posted on the Supreme Court website.

Whilst it is acknowledged that Pell must not be made the scapegoat for all the child sex abuse by the Catholic clergy in Australia, it must also be acknowledged that his rank and influence had a profound bearing – then and now – on how the church in Australia handles allegations of sex abuse by its clergy, employees, and how it instructs its lawyers, insurers, strategists and even publicists on how to treat and respond to the abused and their families.


The fact is, as IA has well documented, not only did the collective fuck and the buck stops with Pell, he was also chief influencer, architect and author of the procedural management and responses to allegations, known as the much-criticised Melbourne Response, as well as his impact on the shonky, silly named sham known as "Towards Healing". 

The scheme is shamelessly designed to protect the Catholic Church’s monies.

As Broken Rites points out:

'The Towards Healing scheme is conducted in association with the Catholic Church's own insurance company, Catholic Church Insurances Limited (CCI). CCI has stated that this company "carries the burden of salary and support staff" for Towards Healing and, furthermore, that CCI will "provide practical support" for any future fine-tuning of the Towards Healing system.'


Actually, Towards Healing was set up as a decoy, to try to lure victims from contacting the effective and meticulously researched victims support group Broken Rites Australia. The website remains a respected, powerful archive and curator of "Black Collar" crime in Australia and beyond.

Pell, the former Vatican Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, is now back in prison and will ostensibly serve out his six-year sentence, ruled on 13 March by the Chief of the County Court, His Honour Judge Kidd. Pell is eligible to apply for parole after three years and eight months into his sentence, but that is a matter for the Parole Board and not the courts.

The Appeal Court judgment may not be the end of it, either. The Cardinal has always professed his innocence. At the time of writing, Pell’s defence team had yet to flag any serious public intention to seek leave to take the matter to the High Court of Australia and he now has mere days left of the 28 days allowed to lodge such an application.

However, Independent Australia has learned that Pell intends to exhaust all legal avenues in his fight to prove his innocence. Justice Weinberg’s dissent gives some traction both to the possibility of Pell seeking leave to appeal and such leave being granted.

The CNA’s Ed Condon has also confirmed that Pell will seek leave to appeal to the High Court. 


Loud rumour has it that Pell’s legal costs thus far, drawn not from the jealously guarded coffers of the Catholic Church’s multinational corporations and subsidiaries but from the private pockets of his devotees, are now in the dizzy realm of $10 million.

Whilst Pell is justly accorded his rights, one cannot help but think of the recalcitrant, contemptuous penny-pinching refusal and obfuscation by the Catholic Church, to pay proper redress, damages and compensation to thousands of victims of the church’s industrial-strength sexual abuse.


IA understands that Pell has been warned by some members of his team not to seek leave form the High Court and been advised by strategists of the damage and impact that such public rejection would have not only upon the Church but also on Pell’s personal standing in the wider community. Other Pell teamsters feel that Pell is in with a chance, given Weinberg’s dissent.

If the High Court does not give leave, it is likely Pell will duly be defrocked of the Cardinal’s robes that his lawyers and witnesses preposterously argued and testified, would not have enabled him to have engaged in sexual abuse,


This regalia certainly does not preclude clergy from lifting up their robes to urinate, as many can attest. Moreover, hundreds of school children can attest to seeing clergy lifting up their robes to put their hands in trouser pockets. I am one of them. And we now know that some priests were masturbating under those desecrated indelible semen-stained robes.

The Cardinal also ill-dressed himself before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by his obfuscation alone. This list, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, will also refresh the memory with some of his more memorable responses that beggar belief.

In the meantime, Cardinal George Pell remains Catholic royalty – a prince of the Church – wearing a frock or no. What is more, he portrays himself as walking in the footsteps of Jesus, who wore a dress and was crucified defrocked by the State, remember?

Verily I say unto you, all roads lead to Rome rather than the Garden of Gethsemane. And all paedophiles surely take a knee whilst facing towards the Papal Basilica of St Peter and pop in for a quickie confession with a like-minded friendly priest, who will hold their tongue and not break the seal of paedophile omerta of the confessional. You don’t dob in your mates.


Because so many sexually abused children were literally held "hostage" in schools by their perpetrators, we need to call this out for what it was and what it is.

These children were/are sex slaves and, moreover, they were indisputably trafficked and shared. Can you imagine the living hell – the mental and physical horror of going to school – being regularly confronted and abused by your perpetrator?

Priests, brothers and lay teachers "shared" their victims. In some instances, the confessional was even used as a forum for "speed sexual abuse dating", as I discovered whilst conducting a research project when working for the Christian Brothers. Last year Independent Australia published an article about this, headlined 'Pedo confessional priests: Lawrence researchers pose as sex abuser priests'.

From the article:

BLESS ME FATHER, it is a week since my last confession. I am a priest and I have been raping little boys and girls and forcing them to masturbate me and suck my cock and I have penetrated their vaginas and anuses, sometimes with foreign objects, including the crucifix.


"...Perhaps we should meet and discuss this in person,” says the confessor to the penitent.


Both priests agree to later meet in person.  Not for spiritual or other counselling. Or pastoral guidance. Not at all. And certainly not to persuade the penitent to go to the police. But rather to exchange names and grooming techniques of their respective child victims. And to get their rocks off recounting sexual exploits.


Newbie Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Andrew Comensoli, recently celebrated his first anniversary. It didn’t go well.

On the Conversation Hour with presenter Jon Faine (soon to abdicate his popular morning show on ABC Melbourne) Archbishop Comensoli came out and proud that he would rather face three years in goal than break the Seal of Confession.

Nota bene: Here we include the Archbishop’s middle name "Andrew" to ensure there is no confusion with his paedophile cousin, also a priest, whose first name is also Peter — Father Peter Lewis Comensoli. Broken Rites has documented not only Father Peter L. Comensoli’s squalid and sordid sexual abuse of altar boys, and other sexual crimes, but also the squalid and sordid behaviour of the Catholic Church in this matter.

The Archbishop’s statement unleashed a torrent of controversy — both for and against his defiant stand. His interview date coincided with the introduction in State Parliament of the Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Bill 2019. Faine had an international scoop on his hands and for Comensoli something less aromatic of his own discharge, hit the proverbial fan.

The Bill demands that all religious ministries are subject to mandatory reporting laws pertaining to child protection — and specifically orders the confessional seal to be lifted in cases of suspected sexual abuse of children.

There would be no rendering unto Caesar those things that are his, by Comensoli. In his universe, sexual terrorists amongst his brethren and flock are protected by God’s Seal of the Confessional, render unto God the things that are God’s — in this case, paedophiles. Really? What would Jesus do?

On Tuesday, Victoria’s Parliament passed the Bill, coming the nearest its ever been to making legislation a blessed sacrament, rendering not only to Caesar but also to Justice.

In his press release Premier Daniel Andrews said: 

Priests and spiritual leaders in religious ministries will now join teachers, police, medical practitioners, nurses, school counsellors, early childhood and youth justice workers as mandated reporters.


In addition, the new laws ensure disclosures of abuse during religious confession are not exempt under the Failure to Disclose offence contained in the Crimes Act — meaning those who don’t report abuse face up to three years in prison.

Longtime tireless advocate and co-author with Paul Kennedy, of Hell on the Road to Heaven, Chrissie Foster, who discovered that two of her three daughters had been repeatedly raped by Catholic priest and renowned paedophile, Kevin O’Donnell said after the bill was passed, that she was “proud of my Victorian politicians”.

With her late husband, Anthony, Foster has relentlessly campaigned for justice for all victims/survivors and has been subjected to the full malicious might and vicious power of the Catholic Church and disgraceful treatment by George Pell.

Given both our parliamentary houses are so often the sound lab for the twin towers of Babel, it is fair to say that the passing of the Bill and not the usual buck, was a sign of how better we – and our governments – can be when we collaborate with the wider community for the greater good.

Chrissie Foster and the Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos

The Act should now be on its way for signing by Victoria’s first female Governor, and former judge of the Family Court, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau, for royal assent.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop has gone to ground, refusing to comment at the time of writing, displaying more of the appalling lack of leadership and banality that has pockmarked his first year.

Archbishop of Melbourne, striving to live by the motto: "We proclaim a crucified Christ" (1Cor 1:23)


But alas, despite his habit of hiding behind dashing sunglasses, even more controversy erupted during his ill-fated Faine... er... confession. The Archbishop also confirmed, albeit not surprisingly, that he had visited Cardinal Pell in prison. Fair enough. This elicited further outrage from some. But what came next elsewhere on another radio station, ignited even greater community wrath.

In what was supposed to be a cunning strategic countermand to his blundering performance on the ABC and an exercise in nifty damage control, Comensoli appeared on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW radio show. Bad move.

It wasn’t so much that Comensoli said he thought that his mate Pell was innocent, but rather his notion that Pell is the victim of mistaken identity. The Archbishop clearly can’t be allowed out alone. 

From 3AW’s website:

Peter Comensoli: I believe what George has said to me…


Neil Mitchell, interrupting: Which is that he didn’t do it.


Peter Comensoli: …and I also believe that the man who has come forward to share his story of abuse in the setting of the church. Where that sits in terms of the particularities remains this challenging situation that our courts themselves have struggled with.


Neil Mitchell: I’m sorry I don’t understand, do you believe him or not?


Peter Comensoli: Um, I believe the man has been abused, yes.


Neil Mitchell: But not by George Pell?


Peter Comensoli: I believe both.

Here’s the filmed wide-ranging interview for you to hear for yourselves:

It’s important to note that Archbishop Comensoli was consecrated a bishop, a fellow prince of the church, by his mentor George Pell, in 2011.

STANDBY FOR PART TWO: The truth about THAT prison letter!


We hope these contact numbers prove helpful if you are in need of support, or know someone who does. Please reach out and remember that we are part of a shared humanity and that support groups are not judgmental.

Broken Rites

Phone: Broken Rites Australia national hotline: (03) 9457 4999

Mail: Broken Rites (Australia) Collective Inc.  PO Box 163, ROSANNA, Victoria 3084, Australia


Royal Commission

Phone: 1800 Respect or 1800 737 732




Phone: 13 11 14


Blue Knot Foundation

Counselling and support for survivors

Phone: 1300 657 380

Bravehearts Inc

Counselling and support for survivors, child protection advocacy

Phone: 1800 272 831

Care Leavers Australasia Network

Support and advocacy for Forgotten Australians

Phone: 1800 008 774

Child Migrants Trust

Social work services for Former Child Migrants, including counselling and support for family reunions

Phone: 1800 040 509

Child Wise

The Trauma-informed telephone and online counselling for childhood abuse. Training and organisational capacity building on child abuse prevention

Phone: 1800 991 099

Children and Young People with Disability Australia

The national peak body for children and young people with disability. Provides information and systemic representation

Phone: 1800 222 660 / 03 9417 1025

The Healing Foundation

Service to help build the capacity of Indigenous organisations and support the development of the Link Up network

There is no phone number to contact the Healing Council. Please contact using their website:

In Good Faith Foundation

Independent advocacy, casework, referral and support to aid recovery for survivors, their families and communities responding to religious institutional abuses.

Phone: 03 9326 1190

MensLine Australia

National telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns

Phone: 1300 78 99 78

People with Disability Australia

The national telephone line to provide information and referrals to people with disabilities

Phone: 1800 422 015 / TTY: 1800 422 016

Sexual Assault Counselling Australia

National telephone counselling service for people who have experienced abuse. Face-to-face counselling is available in New South Wales.

Phone: 1800 211 028


Advocacy, referrals and support services to people who have experienced religious/clergy abuse, with a focus on the Jewish community

Phone: 1300 893 335

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