Australian TV has been rivetted to the spectacle of the highest figure in the Australian Catholic church, Cardinal Pell being cross examined in the dock. The accounts by Pell and his legal team are puzzlingly contradictory; was Pell responsible for the hard line taken against Ellis when he complained about being sexually abused as an altar boy? The long, tortured conversation about strategies over amounts demanded by the complainant: 4 million, $750 thousand, on & on; where is Christ taking the whip to the money lenders in the temple when you need him.
My own experience after I confronted a northern Australian bishop about a priest who had diddled so many altar boys in his parish; I went on a bush walk that he conducted: a very gay affair & he waltzed ahead of his fans like a Pied Piper. I tried to understand why the bishop did nothing about this man; he had retired but was still saying mass & protesting his innocence from the altar, accoutred in his embroidered frock. The bishop said he spoke daily with the pedophile; was it a case of keeping yr enemies close.
At this time another bishop had written a book about his own experience: he had been sexually abused in his youth, but NO, the perp was not a priest. I bought the guy’s book and wrote to him about my own experience. His return reply was that I seemed to take my experience too seriously.
So now, Cardinal Pell is being publicly interrogated about his leadership decisions. We know he spent 50 million, refurbishing a palazzo outside of Rome, which will be his future residence. One wonders how long ago he was promised a promotion to a position in the Vatican. Was his last chore that of confronting the Royal Commission & delivering an ambigious, stony faced account of Catholic policy to date?
Like all corporations, the outgoing CEO is sometimes rewarded for allowing himself to become the face of the old guard. The new leader, can step up, fresh faced, panting with enthusiasm for change and everything previous can be forgotten. The catholics wearing rainbow sashes in the queue at St Mary’s cathedral, refused communion by Pell but given a sanctimonious blessing instead, that will not have happened on the new man’s watch. We have closed the book of the past, turned the page. What will the future bring?