The Horrifying Indifference Of Cardinal George Pell

Image credit: Wikipedia
Image credit: Wikipedia

Cardinal George Pell lives and works at the Vatican. He is Australian and looks after the Catholic money as their high-ranking Economic Minister. Pell was apparently too ill to fly home to Australia for a recent Royal Commission into past abuse by the Church; instead he faced the questioning from Rome via Skype.

Pell was not under accusations of sexual abuse himself. However, he was both a colleague and friend of priests who have been accused and convicted. Many Australians felt betrayed that he refused to come back for the inquest. A song was even written about him by Tim Minchin.

Not only that, but during the questioning, Pell appeared to lack empathy, even though he lived in a small town where priests with numerous victims also lived. When asked if he heard about the sexual abuse by another priest Ridsdale at the time, Pell said “it wasn’t of much interest to me.” I find this the most disturbing part of his testimony. Pell once accompanied Ridsdale to court. Who honestly could have a colleague accused many times of sexual abuse of young children and be not interested in this information? Ridsdale is now in prison and has confessed to the extensive abuse.

Pell was asked many questions about incidents and people he knew and managed to get through all of the questioning with shoulder shrugs. Fast forward a few months and now Pell, himself, has had accusations of sexual abuse lodged against him. The Pope has called for him not to be judged and that he will let justice take its course. Honestly, what options does he have? The Pope can’t override the law – thank goodness! The Pope also asks his Catholic followers and clergy to hold back judgment. Well they might not be permitted to say anything publicly, but we can all think whatever we like.

Whether Pell is guilty of sexual abuse is one thing and yet to be seen. It is his indifference to the suffering at the hands of others that I find so abhorrent. He once appeared on a Q&A with the esteemed Richard Dawkins. I was gobsmacked by Pell’s explanation as to why he believed there must be a hell and who it was for. Pell basically said there has to be a hell for Hitler, otherwise he “got away with it.”

Right there is how ridiculous this whole belief system is.  Even if there is a hell, Hitler still ‘got away with’ murdering millions of Jews. Going to hell will not undo the utter destruction he caused. Hitler’s soul being tortured eternally does not bring relief to anyone or make any sense. It is such a naive and childish view to hold — that wrongdoers will be punished for eternity by a celestial being. It is again pure wishful thinking on behalf of believers and a fear-mongering power technique of the Church.

I feel for the poor people of the past and present, who were bullied into fear by the Church, either because of loyalty to the faith or scientific ignorance of the time.

Sam Harris makes a great point about how the Catholic Church may not have meant to, but they did create the right conditions for pedophilia to rear its ugly head. This Church denies contraception, and as a result many orphaned children find themselves in the care of sexually unhealthy men and women.

At the very least, Pell witnessed many priests ‘getting away with’ horrors for years, being counseled and then moved on to other parishes, where the abuse would start again. He knew and he just turned a blind eye, stayed silent, because it was of ‘no interest’ to him.

Does that lack of action warrant hell?

It should at least warrant getting on a plane and looking at victims of your Church in the eye.


Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

View all posts by Kevin Davis →

11 thoughts on “The Horrifying Indifference Of Cardinal George Pell

  1. What set the stage for child abuse is an all male hierarchy, with the unearned authority of self-important people and no meaningful accountability.

  2. Hmm he is supposed to have faith and his god is supposed to be just. I have a great idea. Tie a rope firmly to his limp dick. Pour on some crazy glue to make sure rope does not come off. Attach other end of rope to a pickup. If he is innocent of abuse , then god should stop him from receiving any harm. Fire up that pickup, put into gear and away we go for science.

  3. George Pell is a serial liar and may be a sociopath. He is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the Catholic Church – full of self-important, arrogant men who believe ludicrous tales, and who wish to impose their “authority” on their congregation.

  4. At what point does this stuff become a crime against humanity? Because it seems to me Ratzinger’s the bloody definition of an accomplice to one, since he was ostensibly in charge of investigating all this in the 70s and they’re still finding out about them now.

  5. All the largest religions catholic,mormon, baptist etc have lobbyists in washington. They all have been paying off polititions for years. One thing could stop All this catholic sh#t and that is for women to Stop going,stop giving this church of pedophia there time and money! But you know they wont too brainwashed! I know catholics who Still say the children only want money! and one more thing if raping children doesn’t lose a church a tax exemption,what does!?

  6. I love the correlation of the SE sex tourists to the catholic priests. There is a difference. The priests do not have to travel or pay money to reach their destination but are housed, fed, and clothed for free in luxury awaiting their constant prey. I wonder if they pray for prey?

  7. At last the suppression order has been lifted here in Oz and its officially public knowledge for everyone to confront and know and face :

    Not that most – certainly a lot of people didn’t already know. Pell is more exposed for what he is -a child molesting sack of feces. May his sentence be long and painful and hope he dies in jail with every last skerrick of his wealth and power and influence stripped from him.

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