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Many Catholics and non-Catholics are reacting negatively to the guilty verdict of Cdl. George Pell, the Vatican's former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.
Australian columnist Andrew Bolt says he just can't accept a guilty verdict based on contrary evidence. In February, Bolt cited various reasons for his "serious misgivings."
"I just can't accept it, based on what I consider is the overwhelming evidence of this trial," he said. One reason he gave was that one of the two victims claiming that Pell abused him at the same time in the sacristy of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne later recanted his story before dying of a drug overdose. Bolt also doubted that the abuse could take place right after Mass.
"This attack allegedly happened in the cathedral sacristy, which is normally a very busy room, where Pell would have known people were almost certain to walk in," Bolt wrote.
As prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Pell uncovered massive financial corruption in the Vatican Bank. In an article he penned for The Catholic Herald in December 2014, Pell revealed that he had uncovered hundreds of million dollars of clandestine funds in the Vatican.
Putting a somewhat positive spin on the finding, Pell wrote, "In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet."
Pell was also a whistleblower of the radical change in Church teaching and practice that were on the horizon. After the 2014 Synod on the Family had concluded, Pell stated that liberal bishops wanted much more than just offering Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.
"Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some — very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers — it's only the tip of the iceberg, it's a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions," Pell said. "The church cannot go in that direction. It would be a capitulation from the beauties and strengths of the Catholic tradition, where people sacrificed themselves for hundreds, for thousands of years to do this."
Watch the panel discuss the actual facts of the case in The Download—Pell Imprisoned.