Cardinal George Pell was recently interviewed regarding the rampant sex abuse that has been occurring within the Catholic Church and the cover-up that has ensued. Why would Pell’s input be specifically relevant? I think it has something to do with his support of “Father” George Francis Ridsdale, whom Pell accompanied to court. At the time, Ridsdale was convicted of molesting and raping 40 children. Even following this instance, Pell did not question his ability to assess the character of people around him. So when “Father” Ronald Pickering fled to England to avoid extradition on rape charges, Pell thought it appropriate to pay him an allowance. The question put to Pell recently:“Were you guilty of willful blindness?” His response: “I certainly wasn’t.” He also claimed that he was “always… on the side of the victims”.
The sincerity of Pell’s statement seems questionable when one considers another comment Pell made regarding the sex abuse scandal. As reported by Mary Elizabeth Williams, a staff writer for Salon, Pell suggests that the Catholic Church is under no “moral obligation” to increase settlements to the victims of these heinous crimes. Pell also claims that “abortion was a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people”, claiming that instances of abortion are “always a destruction of human life”. Perhaps Pell does realize this, but sexual assault and rape are also very much conducive to the destruction of human life. Always on the side of the victims? That may be the case for Pell, so long as the victim doesn’t decide to abort the child who is the product of rape committed by a priest. That statement is simply ludicrous. There is no need to draw a comparison between these two issues. Even if we accept Pell’s flawed premise that abortion is a moral scandal, which I don’t, by comparing abortion and rape Pell attempts to absolve the latter group of wrongdoing, making it appear as if their sins were inconsequential. Either Pell has not actually read the Bible, or he is selectively ignoring scripture that doesn’t support his own agenda. For instance, Corinthians II (10.12) states: “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” In this story, Pell fits the role of those “without understanding”. And he’s a cardinal? Romans (6.23) places all sins on equal terms, stating clearly that “the wages of sin is death.” James (he’s a dude that hung out with Jesus) claims, in James (2:10) that “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” I think Pell really needs to read some of these passages before suggesting that one sin is greater than another. In supporting Risdale and Pickering, not only does Pell make it clear that he lacks the faculty to gage the moral rectitude of those around him, but he also displays an utter lack of understanding when it comes to scripture. How did this guy ever make it as a priest, let alone a cardinal?
There is no need for surprise or shock by such statements; we are speaking of an archaic institution that acts as a retarding weight on society. The Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms in Africa because as an organization, it is against birth control. The Church would rather uphold the “go forth and multiply” mentality than address the reality that there is an HIV epidemic in Africa. It wasn’t until 2010 that the church made allowances for the use of condoms in Africa. Likewise, the system is certainly at the very least sexist and chauvinistic, and in all likelihood misogynistic as well, in that it continues to refuse women jobs as priests. If any other organization precluded women from a position based solely on their lack of a penis, they would have a human rights commission jumping down their throats, but for some reason it’s permitted when the Catholic Church does it. And let’s not even get into the Church’s campaign against homosexuality. Pope Benedict XVI was willing to join forces with other faiths to rail against homosexuality, embracing people who inherently do not believe in Christ and worship, what the Bible claims to be, false gods (the first commandment is that there be no other gods). Of course, the Church’s stance against homosexuality is an example of the “do as I say and not as I do” mentality, since so many of the child sex abuse cases were actually male priests molesting young boys. It seems it would be in the Church’s own best interests to condone homosexuality.
Considering that the organization has covered up sex abuse, refused to recognize equality for women, facilitated the spread of HIV in Africa and raild against homosexuality, it is little wonder that even a person like Pell, who ignores scriptures, helps to aid and abet rapists, and then attacks women, could rise through the echelons of the Church. I shouldn’t be surprised by such news coming out of the church, nor should I be surprised that men like Pell do not see themselves as complacent in the crimes committed by the organization they represent, even though they clearly are. Williams poetically refers to such behaviour as the “evil of complacency”, which seems to echo Hannah Arendt’s phrase “the banality of evil”, articulated in her landmark work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, which speaks to how complacency can not only allow, but help to facilitate heinous crimes against humanity. I am not surprised by any actions taken by the church. What I am surprised at is that there exist in this world people who possesses the cognitive skills required to tie a shoe lace, and somehow still see the value in supporting an organization that frankly rivals the Nazi party in villainy. This is not hyperbole. A study of the history of the Church will support such an observation, as will a reading of scripture. So, if you support the Catholic Church’s agenda, then by all means, continue to go and offer tithe and send your children to schools in the Catholic system. If, however, you are opposed to rape, the spread of HIV, child abuse, homophobia, sexism and hypocrisy, I suggest you find a new organization to support. The agenda of the Catholic Church is simply not working in concert with your own. Pell is not an anomaly in the church; he is the standard.
Cardinal Pell, who helped to support no less than two rapists, also support the selection of Pope Francis. Not sure I would want Pell’s support if I were Pope Francis.