UPDATED 9:34 a.m. June 9 - Over the past three weeks, Cardinal George Pell has been under attack from the leftist, secular media; however, he has been given the ability to strike back.
His lawyer, Richard Leder, has written to Peter Saunders in reply to his degrading comments towards Pell — calling him "sociopathic" and "a thorn in the side of Pope Francis' Papacy — stating that he should retract and apologize for his publicly humiliating comments.
Leder wrote to Saunders, informing him that Saunders has adopted the authority given to him by the Holy See and the Pontifical Commission in a "wholly misleading manner." He goes on to state that it is confirmed "by the many media reports that suggest you made the comments in an official capacity."
He proceeds to remind Saunders of the multiple times Pell has appeared before the Royal Commission and all of his good work in child sex abuse cases. He similarly reminded him that the cardinal has testified, under oath, against multiple allegations that Saunders decided to repeat and ignore on 60 Minutes.
Chief Executive Officef of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), Gabrielle Shaw, spoke out after receiving the letter, proclaiming the overwhelming support for Saunders, not just from Australia, but from around the world.
The legal letter concluded:
The Cardinal is concerned that you knew, or should have known at the time, that each of those matters was factually wrong, and before speaking, you should have made proper enquiries to ensure your opinions were based on reliable information. The cardinal invites you to correct the public record and withdraw these false allegations.
Saunders is now reportedly seeking legal advice.
UPDATED 11:29 a.m. June 1 - Since publication of this article, further developments (or accusations — however you'd like to characterize it) have unfolded regarding Cardinal George Pell and his media coverage.
After two weeks of more shocking testimonies at the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse, the Pope's advisor on the council, Peter Saunders, has appeared on Australia's Channel Nine's (essentially scripted) 60 Minutes, labelling Pell as "sociopathic" in relation to his handling of child sex abuse victims.
Saunders claimed that Cdl. Pell has a "catalogue of denials" after he addressed and denied allegations pertaining to his suspected knowledge of the abusing of children in the Ballarat diocese, and did nothing to stop it.
A British survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of the Church, Saunders was appointed by Pope Francis himself last year to make sure the Catholic Church acted with greater responsibility in relation to child sexual abuse.
Saunders claimed that because Pell was refusing to come to the commission unless directly invited, he was "making a mockery of the Papal Commission, of the Pope himself, but most of all, of the victims and the survivors." As stated in the original article, this point of view demonstrates the ignorance of both the media and anti-Pell supporters: One cannot simply turn up and demand a presence.
Pell, who is "a dangerous individual," according to Saunders, should be removed from any position of influence owing to his being "a serious obstacle to the work of the commission and to the work of the Pope." If this movement was taken seriously, Pell would be taken from his highly influential position as Vatican banker.
In lieu of these publicly humiliating and degrading comments, Pell has sought legal advice to investigate moves he can make in relation to the most recent attacks at his character.
Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has released a statement, detailing that Saunders' comments have been entirely personal and do not represent the position of the Vatican.
To quote my mother: "A mother doesn't come under such scrutiny for not noticing anything when her husband is abusing the children and she shares a bed with the offender. It is not hard to imagine Ridsdale being able to hide it."
We must remember that the media is where the truth lies.
Ordained archbishop of Melbourne in 1997, and now currently operating as head of finances in Rome, Australian Cardinal George Pell has been the subject of significant and unfair media scrutiny for the past 20 years.
The Aussie media is regularly wrapping its long manipulative fingers around every detail that has to do with the Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse of Minors, with regard to many institutions — but the Catholic Church is the one that receives most of the coverage and slander.
The most recent allegations and investigations are in relation to the Victorian state city of Ballarat, 116 kilometres (72 miles) from Melbourne. This city was home to one of the most vicious serial pedophiles, Fr. Gerald Ridsdale, who abused children for decades. This is not, however, what the biased and unfair media are concentrating on.
Cardinal Pell had lived in the same house as Ridsdale in the early 90s and accompanied him to a court case in 1993. Pell later admitted that certain decisions he made at the time were mistakes, and with hindsight, he never realized the gravity of Ridsdale's actions. But what the media will never recognize is that Pell was one of the leaders — in the world, and among institutions — spearheading the response to the child-abuse cases, which came to be known as the Melbourne Response of 1996. This was less than 100 days after he became archbishop of Melbourne, with other longstanding bishops following suit and setting up the Towards Healing program.
Pell's main opponents, other than those from within the Church owing to his social conservatism, are presenters and journalists from the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC, a government-funded company), Fairfax Media, and The Guardian Australia. These outlets rarely show Pell in a good light.
In 1975, the ABC radio program Lateline sympathized with three self-confessed pederasts.
ABC's coverage of Pell consisted of falsehoods with The Drum, which contained an article by lawyer Michael Bradley describing Pell as a "defendant." Pell has never been charged with any offense whatsoever.
Early last week, the ABC News Breakfast began its daily coverage of the Royal Commission with reports that "new evidence" had been discovered in relation to Pell. Ridsdale's nephew David Ridsdale claimed that Pell made bribes in a bid to obtain silence (a charge Pell denies), with similar statements dating back to 2002.
James Carleton, an ABC presenter, called Pell the former "Bishop of Ballarat," demonstrating the government media source's complete ignorance of the situation; Pell was never in control of priests in the diocese before he moved to Melbourne. The ignorance of the media was further demonstrated by Sky News presenters Paul Murray and Derryn Hinch when they demanded, on air, that Pell come home — from Rome — and give evidence before the Royal Commission. But two facts highlight the fact that the presenters' are not authoritative sources:
Much of ABC's content is controlled and maintained so that everyone agrees and there are no disputes. On one such show — Q&A (a show that discusses political matters based on viewer/in-house attendees' questions) — the producers inspect all questions and select only the ones in which healthy discussion will occur, making sure to keep the desired view at the forefront.
Pell has always been open about mistakes he has made in the past and admits the handling of child sexual abuses could have been handled better and more efficiently. Evidence demonstrates that the media has the wrong target.
There is evidence suggesting that Frank Little kept no records of clerical child abuse in his time as archbishop of Melbourne, between 1974 and 1996. Evidence also suggests that Ronald Milkearns during his time as bishop of Ballarat moved offending priests among parishes — not condoning the actions, all the while protecting himself from coming under scrutiny for not reporting incidents.
In his book The Prince, David Marr, a Guardian Australia reporter, quoted Pell as stating that he had "noticed nothing" during his time while living with Ridsdale — further implying that he should have known if something was going on.
Marr is seemingly protecting the left-wing journalist and former priest Paul Bongiorno, who also stated he noticed nothing during his time with Ridsdale. Bongiorno was well received on ABC radio on May 21, saying, “Ridsdale never came into the presbytery in Warrnambool and said 'Guess how many boys I raped today?' They hide it. It was certainly hidden from me." He received sympathy for this statement.
Does Pell not deserve the same sympathy? Apparently not. He is a social conservative who is currently the victim — as Gerard Henderson writes — of a modern-day witch hunt. In this perilous time, those that stretch their necks out and tell the truth will be caught in the toothy, seductive smile of the biased media, while those that don't will be protected in the labyrinth controlled by the government and commonly known as the secular media.