On Thursday, Cdl. George Pell had his last chance for justice in the Australian justice system. His lawyer stood in for him for two days since the court wouldn't let him out of prison to attend. And after two days, the seven-judge panel declared it may take months for a decision, which would leave Pell locked in a maximum security.
Catholic journalist George Weigel made a concise list of issues calling Pell's conviction into question, noting, "During the retrial the defense demonstrated that, in order to sustain the charge that Pell had accosted and sexually abused two choirboys after Mass one Sunday, 10 improbable things would have had to have happened and all within 10 minutes."
Weigel went on to list the following improbabilities in Pell's case:
Pell abandoned his decades-long practice of greeting congregants outside the cathedral after Mass
Pell, who was typically accompanied by a master of ceremonies or sacristan when he was vested for Mass, entered the carefully controlled space of the vesting sacristy alone
The master of ceremonies, charged with helping the archbishop disrobe while removing his own liturgical vestments, had disappeared
The sacristan, charged with the care of the locked sacristy, had also disappeared
The sacristan did not go back and forth between the sacristy and the cathedral sanctuary, removing missals and Mass vessels, as was his responsibility and consistent practice
The altar servers, like the sacristan, simply disappeared, rather than helping the sacristan clear the sanctuary by bringing liturgical vessels and books back to the sacristy
The priests who concelebrated the Mass with Pell were not in the sacristy disrobing after the ceremony
At least 40 people did not notice that two choirboys left the post-Mass procession
Two choirboys entered the sacristy, started gulping altar wine and were accosted and abused by Pell — while the sacristy door was open and the archbishop was in full liturgical vestments
The abused choirboys then entered the choir room through two locked doors without anyone noticing and participated in a post-Mass rehearsal; no one asked why they had been missing for 10 minutes
To hear more about the ongoing case, watch The Download—Pell's Final Appeal.