Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Good Deeds and False Accusers.

The Taverners have been following the circus put on by the media Emperors as the massed ranks of what passes for the chatteratti elite in Oz throw George Pell to the lions. And they chose a place as close to the Colloseum as they could afford.

Well, as much as they thought you could afford as it is a taxpayer funded junket.

No matter that George has appeared before, several times.  No. They chased him all the way to Rome for yet another roasting.  They even had the 'Commission' hire a hotel for the occasion and crowd-sourced money from the gullible to send an audience. 

And no matter that he has not even been considered for criminal charges of any kind. In fact his only 'crime' seems to have been kindness.

Good Deeds George.

He was the one man who, horrified by what he found when he rose to such heights as to see what was happening, actually did something positive where others had cut and run.

No sign in the entourage of media egging on the accusers on to star reporter and ex-Catholic priest Paul Bongiorno, either, in the media huddle. That darling of the circus is being kept hidden in a back room somewhere in Wagga Wagga. No-one demands that he be interviewed and interviewed, interrogated and accused falsly.
On the Stand, Paul. 
Peter Wales was in to give his view. He can hardly be called a defender of Catholicism as he was an Anglican clergyman.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

That the Church harboured paedophiles is beyond dispute, so to note that allegations of abuse can be prompted by an eye for the quick dollar risks demeaning genuine victims. It is these very people for whom Cardinal Pell sought justice, yet we told he is the monster. There is something very wrong here.
NOT that paedophiles lurked in every nook and cranny of the hundreds of parishes, mind you.  We are talking (well the Royal Commission and every media hack is talking) of a very few, several decades ago, most of whom are dead or in jail. 
In the mid-Nineties I had a friend called Pat. He was a Christian Brother. This was about the peak of the time it was the Christian Brothers’ turn to be the most hated people or organisation in Australia. 
I asked him what the heck had happened. His reply was that their investigations had led them to believe that a large number of the complaints were without foundation. Certainly their legal advice was that if they contested the claims, they would win almost every case.

However, they had also reached that view that at least some of the claims were likely to be true, and that it was not easily possible to tell which were true and which were not. 
They would rather accept every claim than run the risk of denying justice to a single person who had genuinely been abused. 
I thought then, and still think, that this view, while noble, was naive.

If you were at a Christian Brothers school twenty, or thirty or forty years ago, and you knew all you had to do to get a $60,000 payout was claim that Brother Fred, or Tom or whoever, now deceased or in a nursing home, had gone the grope in the change rooms … well, many people would be, and apparently were, tempted.
That is not justice. 
Firstly, it ran the risk of utterly and falsely ruining the reputations of men who had given up any kind of sexual relationship over their life-times, who had given up the right to make choices about where they lived or who they lived with, who were paid nothing, or mere pocket money, in order to serve and work with boys who were often difficult or disadvantaged, and who did so faithfully all their lives with little thanks. And of course, who were now not able to defend themselves.

           That is not justice. 
Nor is giving money away. 
That was not the Christian Brothers’ money to do with as they pleased. It was raised through hard work, dollar by dollar, by ladies at cake stalls, by children at car washes, by gifts from working people so that many would have a fair chance at a decent education. 
Giving it to anyone who made a claim was not fair to the people who raised it, and it was not fair to the people who missed out on educational opportunities because there was no money left.

                          That is not justice. 
Nor was it just to the schools and communities where Christian Brothers had worked, which were now looked at with disdain or suspicion.

                                           That is not justice. 
Nor was it fair to those who had been genuinely abused, who deserved to be heard, to be recognised and helped.

I thought this was wrong. And I suspect that Cardinal Pell thought it was wrong too. 
Justice based on untruth, no matter how well meant, is not justice. 
At the time, Fr Pell was a priest in the Diocese of Ballarat, he had no authority over anyone else, nor was he in a position to make rules or issue guidelines. Yet somehow, he is being treated as if he were responsible for child abuse that occurred within that diocese. That he must have known, and should have done something about it. [They say]

It is even being pretended that he has tried to avoid giving evidence to the Royal Commission. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
Pell, who has never been accused by the Commission of any wrongdoing, has given more hours of evidence than any other witness — having so far appeared twice, once in person, once via video. 
Giving evidence via video is nothing out of the ordinary. About one-third of witnesses in Australia have done so, for reasons that include distance and work commitments.

Former Catholic priest Paul Bongiorno, now an ABC journalist, shared a house with that despicable creature Gerald Risdale, as did many others. 
Bongiorno says he had no idea what Risdale was up to. 
I do not see or hear any media people or any of the accusers currently hounding George Pell calling Bongiorno a liar.  But then Bongiorno is 'one of them', a lefty tool.
He has noted that paedophiles won’t normally come home in the evening and boast about how many boys they have raped. He is right, of course. Paedophiles are secretive and sneaky. There is no reason to think that Bongiorno or anyone else knew what Risdale was doing.
Hense, there is no reason to think Pell did either. 
As soon as George Pell was in a position to know what had been happening, and to do something about it, he did. Just three months after he became Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, he set up the first protocols for dealing with child abuse in any church group in Australasia, Europe or the US. The Melbourne Response, as it was called, was widely hailed by police and victim groups.

Essentially, anyone who had a complaint could discuss it in a non-adversarial environment. Counselling and other forms of support were offered. In many cases, financial compensation was offered. It is important to note that this was not meant to replace a victim’s right to go to the police. Victims who talked to the Melbourne Response were told of all their options, and could make a complaint to police at any time, including after their case had been heard by Melbourne Response, and financial compensation paid.
As well as being highly emotional, these were very often complicated and confusing situations, with unclear or conflicting evidence, with justice being dependent, of course, on what was the truth. What seems clear now, and justice now, after many years, and further evidence and cases, was not always clear at the time. 

Yet somehow in spite of all of his work over many years to stop child abuse within the church, and to make processes for victims as supportive and comfortable as possible, and to ensure outcomes were what victims needed, Pell is made out to be the bad guy.

For example, ABC TV News last week ran an interview with Chrissie and Anthony Foster as they departed Melbourne Airport for Rome, so as to be present when Cardinal Pell gives further evidence to the Royal Commission, as he is set to do tomorrow morning (February 29). Two of the Fosters’ daughters were sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in Melbourne before George Pell became Archbishop of Melbourne.  This is what Mr Foster had to say, as reported by ABC TV:
"We want to hear the truth. And he’s worked his way right through the hierarchy right up to the top of the Catholic Church.  So, we really want to hear the truth about what happened. And it’s about time we saw some action out of the Catholic Church. So maybe hearing the whole truth from him – we might actually start to see some action."
You can certainly understand the parents being upset and angry. But there are a couple of things to note, things the ABC did not note. 
Firstly, the assaults on their daughters took place before Pell was Archbishop of Melbourne. He did not know, and could not have known, what was happening. 
Secondly, the Foster family made use of the Melbourne Response, set up by the Archbishop Pell for exactly that purpose. 
Thirdly, even though he was not Archbishop when the Foster girls were assaulted, as part of the Response process, Pell personally apologised to the family “for the wrongs and hurt you have suffered.”

Fourthly, and finally, in November, 2005 the Foster family accepted $750,000 in compensation from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, plus payment of their legal costs and an indemnity in respect to any payments to the Health Insurance Commission. (See the Royal Commission’s Report of Case Study No 16: The Melbourne Response, July 2015, page 19.)
Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars! 
So what on earth does Mr Foster mean when he says, “We might finally start to see some action?”

And why blame Pell?
I put it down to Cognitive Dissonance. They gouged, and now they justify with more gouging.

Perhaps a friendly Lawyer will step up and 'assist' the Fosters and anyone else at hand to make an outrageous demand for money from the ABC for harbouring a journalist who lived with a paedophile.

But I really don't want to see taxpayers' money going the same way as Catholic parishioners collection plate contributions.



  1. Hmmmmm. Looking st it in general, seems asking for trouble asking clergy not to marry. Maybe that's just the Anglican in me.

    1. A small fraction of one percent should not be generalised to the whole. I am surprised, James. The vast majority of priests manage celibacy well. Which is more than one can say about ordinary heterosexual chaps who marry - just look at the infidelity and divorce rates. The problems in the priesthood are all down to homosexual priests and paedophile ones. They are as small a percentage as one finds in all walks of life.

  2. I have read quite a lot about the Industrial Schools in Ireland which finally closed down in the 1970s. Boys were sent there for the most minor of crimes. The schools were run by the church although the boys were sent there by the state.

    Some of the boys were sexually abused. Most were not. Some of the priests were sadists. Most were not. Some of the lay teachers were sadists. Most were not. Discipline was strict. A boy who broke the rules could expect a firm whacking. The same would have been expected in any school in Europe at the time. It was a different time.

    Many of the sensationalist stories of the horrors of these schools (there were ones for girls too) were cherry-picked from nearly two hundred years of history, bundled together and used as a weapon against the church which is still paying out huge sums in compensation.

    What none of the journalists who write about these schools has ever done is to compare the amount of abuse that happened in them, with similar abuses in non-church schools. I don't know but I suspect that there was little difference.

    A reporter I knew who spent some years working the courts had crunched the numbers from the data available and he believed all throughout the priest-hunting hysteria in Ireland, that a priest was no more likely to be a paedophile than a plumber or an accountant or anyone else.

    He also believed that the reputations many innocent priests, mostly now diseased, were being sacrificed by a church leadership which preferred to appear contrite than to face more accusations of protecting paedophiles.

    There are many wonderful teachers in our schools and some not so wonderful, but few of them would abuse children. Unfortunately teaching in a school would make a very attractive job for a paedophile, so the schools must remain vigilant.

    1. Correct on all points, Lana. The chatterati, the media and the politicos seem hell-bent on ignoring pertinent information and contexts yet leap at false allegations and fantasies from half a century ago. It is the modern equivalent of the old witch hunts. We shall have the ducking-stools back soon.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..