The malevolent Cardinal Pell has died1. In response to Pell’s demise, the idiotic Tony Abbott said: “Australia has lost a great son and the Church has lost a great leader…. [he] was a committed defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a staunch advocate for the virtues of Western Civilisation (that is code for Christian white supremacy here).” Unbelievably, Abbott also stated “he was a very pastoral priest who well understood the human stain [this is the ‘original sin’ bunkum] and was more than capable of empathising with sinners while still counselling against sin”. It is a shame he did not counsel child-molesting priests against their sin, rather than just shunting them off to another parish, as seemed to be the standard protocol of the Catholic Church when dealing with paedophiles. Even more startlingly, Abbott said that “In his own way, by dealing so equably with a monstrous allegation, he strikes me as a saint for our times”2, appendix. This beggars belief.
Peter Dutton, Leader of the Opposition, simply went through Pell’s career before signing off by blaming Dan Andrews which, these days, seems to be de rigueur for the Liberal Party: “On his passing, the fact he spent a year in prison for a conviction that the High Court of Australia unanimously quashed should provide some cause for reflection for the Victorian Labor Government and its institutions (read Police, DPP and Victorian courts) that led this modern-day political persecution”3, appendix. To call punishment for paedophilia political persecution also beggars belief.
By the early 2000s, numerous reports had started to surface about paedophile priests and even about Pell himself. The man who said Pell abused him didn’t want to go to the police and instead opted for an internal church investigation. Retired Supreme Court judge, Alec Southwell, was appointed to run the investigation. He found both Pell and his accuser believable, but also found the evidence was not of the requisite standard to find that Pell had committed a crime. The Church released the Southwell Report on the Monday after the 2002 Bali bombings so that it would fade quickly, which it did4.
However, the allegations of paedophilia in the priesthood would not go away and eventually led to then Prime Minister Julia Gillard calling the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – a five-year inquiry that found the Catholic Church was significantly overrepresented as an institution in complaints of sexual abuse4.
The Royal Commission found that Pell knew about paedophile priests, including one of Australia’s most prolific sex offenders, Gerald Ridsdale, who was bounced from parish to parish by then Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns, to facilitate his abuse of ever more children. Pell was one of the advisors to the bishop when the latter was making these decisions to move Ridsdale4.
The royal commission found that Pell knew as early as 1973, saying it was “inconceivable” he didn’t know, and saying that the conduct of the advisors in effectively turning a blind eye was “unacceptable”. The commission also found that Pell had some knowledge or ought to have known about Brother Edward Dowlan, Father Peter Searson and Father Nazareno Fasciale. Pell attended Fasciale’s requiem mass when Fasciale died several weeks after being charged by Victoria Police. The commission was satisfied that members of the Melbourne archdiocese’s personnel advisory board, which included George Pell, were told about Fasciale’s abuse of children. Fasciale was allowed to retire on ‘health grounds’4.
Although Pell was convicted by a jury in the choirboy case, and his appeal to the Victorian Court of Appeal failed, the High Court quashed his conviction4.
What is wrong with Conservatives? They seem to be convinced that anything, and I mean anything, that is associated with the political centre or political left is to be castigated as communist, Marxist or even worse, ‘woke’. They also seem to be intent on baiting everyone who is not a conservative, no matter what bastardry they have to appear to support in doing so. In addition, they seem to be antipathetic to anything suggested by anyone with expertise. This was perhaps epitomised by some of the muppets such as Gerard Rennick, Craig Kelly, Tony Abbott, George Christensen and Pauline Hanson in the parliamentary Liberal, LNP or ON parties abusing those with expertise in the face of dealing with climate change or the Covid-19 pandemic as being “unelected experts”5, 6.
This visceral reaction to anything done by anyone they perceive as not of their ilk even extends to supporting Russia in the Ukraine war, seemingly because Ukraine has been supported by the Democrat president of the US, Joe Biden, as well as NATO. Just a couple of days ago, Murdoch hack, Ross Cameron intimated the Ukraine were ‘actual Nazis’, echoing the Putin mantra that Ukraine is governed by Nazis7. This assertion by Cameron is, of course, bovine ordure, and is simply Russian propaganda8. Why would he spout this stuff? What do Cameron or Murdoch gain from it?
I suspect that anyone with a modicum of sense would be less than glowing in their praise of Pell given what the Royal Commission found, just as I expect anyone who had a shred of respect for democracy or peace in the world would not be spouting Russian propaganda, but would be supporting Ukraine in their fight against the invading Russians. I also expect that anyone with any common sense would look to advice from epidemiologists when dealing with a pandemic, and to climate scientists when dealing with climate change. This lack of common sense among conservatives demonstrates their decline into irrationality is continuing and that this will end in irrelevance.
Abbott press release:
Australia has lost a great son and the Church has lost a great leader with the passing of
The Cardinal was a committed defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a staunch advocate
for the virtues of Western Civilisation.
As an ecclesiastical and cultural conservative, he attracted praise and blame from all the
In fact, he was a very pastoral priest who well understood the human stain and was more
than capable of empathising with sinners while still counselling against sin.
His incarceration on charges that the High Court ultimately scathingly dismissed was a
modern form of crucifixion; reputationally at least a kind of living death.
His prison journals should become a classic: a fine man wrestling with a cruel fate and
trying to make sense of the unfairness of suffering.
In the end, like Julian of Norwich, his conclusion in faith was that all would be well and
all manner of things would be well.
In his own way, by dealing so equably with a monstrous allegation, he strikes me as a
saint for our times.
Like everyone who knew him I feel a deep sense of loss but am confident that his
reputation will grow and grow and that he will become an inspiration for the ages.
Peter Dutton press release:
Australia received the news this morning of the passing of Cardinal George Pell DD AC.
The son of a Ballarat publican, the Oxford-educated George Pell was a man of immense
erudition and faith.
Our nation has lost an important intellectual figure and a towering presence in the Catholic
His death will he felt in the Vatican and by Catholics around the world.
In his youth, Pell was a skilled Australian Rules footballer. But it was in his faith, rather than on the footy field, that he found his calling.
George Pell was ordained in 1966. He served as a priest in parishes around Victoria, before becoming the seventh Archbishop of Melbourne and the eighth Archbishop of Sydney.
Dr Pell’s appointment as a Cardinal in 2003 was a good day for Australia and for the Catholic
He brought the World Youth Day and Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney in 2008 – a time of immense joy for young Australian Catholics and Catholic pilgrims from across the world who visited our shores.
His advocacy for Catholic education and a fair go for Catholic and independent schools
particularly when they were under attack in 2004 – has ensured that equitable funding
arrangements are now embedded in Australia’s education policy.
In 2014 Pope Francis appointed Pell as the head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy. No other Australian has risen to a higher position in the Catholic Church.
A fierce defender of the Catholic faith and Christian ideals. Dr Pell made friends – and enemies – along the way
On his passing, the fact he spent a year in prison for a conviction that the High Court of Australia unanimously quashed should provide some cause for reflection for the Victorian Labor Government and its institutions that led this modern-day political persecution.
Pell never lost faith in his God, his country, and in justice – despite the tests and trials he endured in life.
Cardinal George Pell DD AC – requiescat in pace
Many good articles have been written about Pell. The Guardian, Kangaroo Court, AIM Network and of course BLOT.
Pell was pure evil. I wonder if the Pope ever considered having him taken out?
Pell’s perverse actions to conceal the monstrous behaviour of his predatory colleagues and to “protect the church” rather than protect innocents was unethical, dishonest, unconscionable, and completely unforgivable given his position. It was also contrary to fundamental Catholic tenets and basic human morality. Comparing Pell to a saint is risible nonsense, but as we know the Mad Monk isn’t short on hyperbolic claptrap. Self-professed “Catholics” defending Pell’s actions (Abbott, Sheridan) etc are hypocrites of the very worst kind. Unfortunately religious (in name) hypocrites abound these days, as we see every day in the USA, Iran and elsewhere.
Without doubt Pell knew about other paedophilic priests as indeed did the whole the whole Catholic hierarchy. Unfortunately many other organisations have proved to be not much better. The Louise Milligan programmes certainly made a strong case against Pell, but I always thought that his actual conviction was definitely dodgy and should never have happened. It was no surprise when the High Court threw it out.
The Victorian court of appeal threw out his first appeal against his conviction. Many people were surprised at the High Court’s decision.
You only have to see the people who liked him to know how unlikeable he was. I have written before about my Catholic upbringing and my visceral dislike of so much that this religion (and I am sure others) does that causes harm to this world. In my opinion just the things that everyone used to think are “normal” for the way that children were raised and indoctrinated by this church was abuse. That is before we even talk about the sexual abuse and other criminal matters that some people may have somehow pretended weren’t happening within their sacred bullshit. I witnessed actions, and experienced them, perpetrated by christian brothers, and others within the church, that are basically criminal assault, and vile brainwashing. They were just regarded as normal corporal punishment in those days. This shit may still be happening. I am sure the brainwashing still is. The instillation of fear. These people are foul. And Pell thought that climate activists are a cult. What a complete turd. Good riddance.
I am fortunate that I had little interaction with religion when I was a kid, beyond having ‘scripture’ classes, which I convinced my parents to allow me to be exempted from. I went and did something more useful; studying in the library. https://blotreport.com/2017/11/18/losing-my-religion/
I really do pity people who had to put up with all this stuff in their younger years. Warren put me onto a piece in the AIMN which is worth a read. It is from someone who had to deal with Pell as well as some of the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy. It is almost sickening reading it. It is here: https://theaimn.com/george-pell-devil-incarnate-is-dead/.
my understanding was that pell’s conviction was only quashed due to a legal technicality thingamybob of some sort, but the High Court said nothing about the guilty finding by the jury.
on a bit of a tangent regarding pope whosiwhatsit attending or presiding or whatever he did at the previous dead pope’s funeral, or whatever it was, just happened to be the 1st pope to attend his predecessors shindig in about 800 years. Could this possibly be due to the possibility that succeeding popes were often the vehicle of the previous ones demise?
There have been shenanigans of all sorts between popes, especially during the Vatican Standoff, when there were three popes at the same time.
Another funny occurrence was when Pope Stephen VI had Pope Formosus’ corpse dug up 7 months after he carked it, and put on trial in the Cadaver Trial. You have to laugh.
Dear Mr Clive,
You can find a summary of the High Court’s decision here: https://cdn.hcourt.gov.au/assets/publications/judgment-summaries/2020/hca-12-2020-04-07.pdf
Their Honours’ conclusion is that “With respect to each of the applicant’s (Pell’s) convictions, there was … … a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”.
Above that, they give their reason for that decision: “The High Court considered that, while the Court of Appeal majority assessed the evidence of the opportunity witnesses as leaving open the possibility that the complainant’s account was correct, their Honours’ analysis failed to engage with the question of whether there remained a reasonable possibility that the offending had not taken place, such that there ought to have been a reasonable doubt as to the applicant’s guilt.”
I am not a lawyer, but in my assessment (In laypersons’ language) is that the most senior court in Australia considered that there may have been a miscarriage of justice, and/or that Pell’s appeal had been mishandled and that he should therefore be acquitted.
I have three questions: Is this what you mean by “a legal technicality thingamybob”? Are you questioning the verdict of the High Court? Would you have preferred the original conviction to stand?
My very best wishes to you sir,
The High Court made no findings as to Pell’s guilt or innocence in THAT matter, their decision was based on “reasonable doubt”. This is not unusual in appeals. His successful appeal does NOT mean that he was innocent in the eyes of the law, nor that the HC believed he was innocent. Criminal matters require different levels of proof to say RC findings, and the RC into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse made no bones about its views on Pell’s complicity. Here’s a summary: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/12/george-pell-what-the-five-year-royal-commission-into-child-sexual-abuse-found
One can only wonder what Tony Abbott’s behaviour would have been had one of his young daughters been abused by an official of the Catholic church. Would he have stayed silent to protect the Church like Pell did or would he have acted to ensure that the perpetrator was defrocked and sought assurances that officials like Pell would take actions to stamp out such behaviour (which was a repetition of what we know occurred in Ireland and the USA and many other countries around the world), and in future report such things to police if the victim so desired?
Dear Mr Jon,
I did not claim that the successful appeal means that Pell was innocent, either in the eyes of the law or in the eyes the High Court or anyone else. He may have been innocent, he may have been guilty. This was not established in any court of law, and now that he is dead, it almost certainly never will. Please read and address what I wrote, and do not accuse me of anything I did not write.
The first paragraph of the High Court’s summary reads as follows:
“Today, the High Court granted special leave to appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria and unanimously allowed the appeal. The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place.”
The key word here is “acquittal”, NOT “innocence” or “innocent”.
My three questions were addressed to Mr Clive, but thus far he has not responded. If you would like to address my three questions, please do feel free to do so.
My very best wishes to you also, sir.
Dear Mr Jon,
Incidentally I have no interest in speculating on the possible reactions of Mr Tony Abbott, as he is a perennial buffoon, and therefore his opinions and reactions on any topic are likely to be worthless.
My very best wishes to you sir,
Dear Ib Na
I didn’t “accuse” you of anything, I simply pointed out the facts regarding Pell’s legal situation and what it ultimately said (or didn’t say) in regard to guilt/innocence.
You are of course quite wrong with your claim that Pell : “may have been innocent, he may have been guilty. This was not established in any court of law…”
In FACT Pell was found guilty in two courts, the second being the Court of Appeal.
It’s not clear to me what point you’re attempting to make beyond the fact that Pell’s appeal to the High Court was successful. That is well established, as is his role in covering up the criminal assaults of his colleagues.
Did the High Court make a mistake? ALL courts make mistakes. The HC attempts to use its considerable expertise to determine the validity of claims according to existing legal frameworks and I accept their determinations because they are FAR better qualified (in every sense) than me to make judgements. Was Pell actually guilty as charged? I have no opinion on that, but either way his behaviour was contemptible, immoral and unconscionable., and a blight on the Church and religion he supposedly served.
Btw, feel free to drop the pretence, Sir.
Dear Mr Jon,
You write: “In FACT Pell was found guilty in two courts, the second being the Court of Appeal.”
Yes. He was FOUND guilty in two courts. But as you say, “all courts make mistakes”. Then the High Court overturned those decisions, because “the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”. So, ipso facto, they became UNESTABLISHED. Exactly as I said.
You write: “Was Pell actually guilty as charged? I have no opinion on that”.
Neither do I.
You write: “Btw, feel free to drop the pretence, Sir.”
I cannot imagine why the expression of very best wishes annoys you, sir, but since it obviously does, I say again, my very best wishes to you sir.
I am not a “sir”, nor do I require an honorific before my first name and fairly obviously I don’t appreciate pretence. Clear enough for you Ib Na?
We’ve established that your comment re courts and guilt was wrong, we understand what the HC found and why in their opinion it was valid to overturn a jury’s unanimous opinion, and that you consider Tony Abbott a buffoon. We have yet to hear your opinion of Pell and his actions. Any reason why? The details have been publicly available for a long time, as have various commentaries for and against him.
The idea that the Vile Guttersnipe Monk could re-enter politics at federal level is horrifying. His prime-ministershiT was nothing if not weak, retrograde, farcical and demeaning of the office he nabbed. ABBOTT IS PELL’S TWIN BROTHER excepting simple genetics. Both were twisted, dysfunctional personalities, both wallowed in a long-gone laughable medieval notion of ethics and the papacy; both had power hungriness without parallel except for Hitler perhaps; both totally ignored evidence that didn’t fit into their backward looking steel encased bubble of ideas on society; and both poorly hid their gross incompetence and screaming moral hypocrisy while claiming to be holier than thou at every chance to do so. Repugnant, nasty-sounding beasts who should never have been allowed within miles of any office of high level in ANY national institution or even in a small-town community.
That is what conservatives are like. They spruik freedom, but are all about limiting it. They spruik fidelity, but shag anything that moves. They spruik integrity but are devoid of it. Unfortunately for the Liberal Party, appalling people like Abbott have found it their natural home.
I’ve often wondered if chat bots such as ChatGPT have been used on the BLOT Report by commentators?
I do get lots of spam. It’s mostly how to get rich quick, ‘wanna buy some viagra?’, or porn, or stuff in Russian I don’t bother translating. It goes into the Spam folder. The last time I cleaned it out was yesterday evening and now there are already 4 more entries in the folder. I’d guess I’d get on average about 10 a day. As for the real comments, they all seem a bit idiosyncratic both in style and vocabulary to be a vanilla bot. Although there has been talk of ChatGPT writing parts of scientific papers, and even getting some form of authorship, I would never be party to that. I find constructing English sentences in the scientific papers I write very good mental exercise, and I will do it as long as the brain still functions.
If you’re getting any spam at all, this should be a cause for concern, and should prompt you to get some proper security software. If you don’t do that, you’re nuts. I use Trend Micro Maximum Security and haven’t received a single spam email in more than four years. Costs about $2 a week. Stop being such a skinflint.
This is not e-mail. It’s a website and the software catches them and puts them into the spam folder without fail. Don’t make assumptions. And if there is any more personal abuse, you will be gone again, to the spam folder.
It is possible that some commentators may have used GPT-based chatbots or other AI-powered tools on the BLOT Report or other online platforms, but I do not have specific information about their usage on this particular website. It is important to note that using AI-powered tools to impersonate humans online is generally considered to be unethical, and many platforms have policies in place to prohibit this type of behaviour.
Arthur – what email software are you using?
Outlook, as part of the Microsoft 365 parcel (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Publisher, OneNote, Access database). The whole lot costs $99 a year, less than $2 a week. People criticise Microsoft all the time, and sometimes they really deserve that criticism, but the 365 package is the best software bargain I’ve found since my first involvement in computers 40 years ago.
But what keeps it all safe from spam, viruses, ransomware and all the other online nasties is Trend Micro Maximum Security. Have used Norton in the past – poor, frankly, rated about 5 out of 10. Subsequently used McAfee, not bad but did generate some problems, scored 7 out of 10. Eight years now with Trend Micro, not a single problem. And for an extra few dollars you can sunscribe to their personal assistance phone hotline. Haven’t had to use it yet but know it’s there 24/7/365 if things go pear-shaped. Worth every dollar.
Thanks Arthur. I use the free version of Hotmail – initially didn’t want to lose old emails and now too lazy to swap. Its spam filter is not the best so the junk folder needs regular cleaning. It miscategorises ‘proper’ email occasionally so that’s not a bad thing. Their user rules no longer appear to work on the free service either. Also have a gmail account but as we know Google is as bad if not worse than spam as far as intrusiveness goes.
Why do you continue to call them conservatives, echoing their fraudulent description of themselves, when they demonstrably conserve nothing other than their own grip on power (when they happen to be in power)?
Using that logic the Liberal Party should not be described as such as they are decidedly illiberal. They call themselves conservatives, so that will do as a label for the present.
Admin, you will never be able to have the last word with stuck-up and bellicose Arthur Baker. He should be rejected from the forum. Yes, I emote a fair bit, but I don’t get so up myself or simply vulgar that I feel a need to get personal with you. Arthur is not fit to contribute. That’s my view from watching his behaviour for a long time. Thank you for your very measured and sane management of this good online forum. I support 90% of your approach to the abysmal politics and ecological disasters that Australia has rapidly descended into. Rank corruption rules in so many places it has too often become the norm. Not everywhere of course, but enough to have dragged us down very far in the eyes of the rest of the world. One only needs to study the rankings in the OECD on education, mental health etc etc. to realise Australia is in deep trouble in so many directions. And you are brave enough to state that case in public with your intelligent analysis.
Arthur has made some very interesting contributions to Blot Russell, as have you and many others. We all have different approaches to and perspectives on certain topics but I think there’s room for that, and more. While criticism of comments, inconsistencies etc and gripes about things that grate on Blot may be valid, personally I think the forum works best when we discuss BA’s topics and alert others to things we’ve come across as we peruse the morass that is now a significant part of the internet.
This on “free/hate speech” in the USA might interest some: https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/the-three-cases-that-could-break-the-internet-20230124-p5cey9.html Good to see the conservatives there upholding such highly valued community standards as hate speech, lies, conspiracy development and dissemination etc
On a related topic the UK has introduced laws making “CEO’s” directly responsible for content harmful to children. “Persistent failure” to regulate their online content may lead to criminal prosecution, although the threat of same is likely to be the biggest deterrent.
I just read those two articles and I can see how these cases might make the business models a bit more difficult. As you know, I am on Twitter, and when Musk took over, my number of followers (peaked at about 2,770) has been slowly falling after 5 years of slowly increasing. It is now at about 2,690. I have also noticed a relative increase in the number of RWNJs. When Musk took over I, and several other people I follow, opened up accounts on Mastodon, which is a federated Twitter-like social media platform. It is quite good, and they have strict controls on abuse, hate speech, etc. As a consequence, there are no dickheads that I have seen. It differs from Twitter and takes a bit of getting used to, but it has been fun. It is also open source, so cannot be taken over by buffoons like Musk.
I always like to give people a second chance. Arthur gets one, but only one. And thanks for the compliments, they are greatly appreciated. They also make me feel I an not simply shouting into the ether. I only started this to stop myself shouting at the television, and possibly chucking stuff at it, and to decrease my blood pressure from all the shouting. I have found it very cathartic, and on other fora like Facebook, Twitter and Mastodon if someone raises a topic on which I have written an essay, I’ll lob that essay on them. It saves having to reinvent the wheel constantly. I too enjoy your contributions, and those from the other regular contributors. I hope they keep coming.
Bad news, this is./
Really feeling bad about this./
Actually, quite depressed./
Life goes on./
Each morning, new hope./
Until my next crisis begins./
Rest assured I will do better in future./