Fair Trial for Pell? Not If Social Media Is an Indicator.

Last week, a Twitter fight broke out over my recent Cardinal Pell article. John Zmirak, Patrick Coffin, Deacon Nick Donnelly, and Tito Edwards duked it out with a large band of rabid Pell-haters. Not a single one of the Church-bashing bigots bothered to present the evidence which convicts Pell in their minds. Instead they resorted to ad hominem insults and vulgarities that I won’t repeat. Instead of explaining their case for conviction, they chose to attack Pell’s defenders as “paedophile apologists.”

Really? I wrote a book and this article exposing pedophile apologists in seminary theology departments. All of the Catholic defenders of Pell that I know—and this certainly applies to the ones involved in this Twitter skirmish—have been relentless in calling for more investigation and more prosecution of church criminals. Which one of us has ever been caught defending Cardinal McCarrick, for example? My point is simply this. In my own case, and that of Zmirak and Coffin and Edwards and Donnelly, our only reason for defending Pell stems from our belief in his innocence. If he could be shown to be guilty, we would be the LOUDEST in screaming for his conviction, just as we have done in countless other cases of Church miscreants.

We certainly would have listened if anyone had bothered to present a rational case for Pell’s guilt. But no one offered any such explanation, as you can see for yourself, if you follow the bloody Twitter battle here:

A very troubling aspect of their decision to attack us rather than argue their case is that it ignores a bedrock principle of our modern justice system—that the accused are to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty. It follows from this principle that the burden is on the prosecution, not the defense. Thus, they should have recognized it as their their duty to supply proof of guilt before throwing a man in the clinker. Some of them thought it clever to try and turn the tables on us and put the burden on us. But that just won’t fly. The burden is theirs and that’s that.

So when I explained in my article that even the prosecutor admitted that they had no answer for a key piece of the defense’s argument, namely, that the timing made it impossible for Pell to have committed the crime—I did my part. I explained how the defense raised a reasonable doubt for which the prosecution had no answer. One of the High Court judges stated that this fact of the case pointed to acquittal, which offers some hope that Pell will receive a favorable ruling tomorrow.

So what explains why so many Aussies are convinced of Pell’s guilt? The clues are to be found in the Twitter feud. Several of the Pell-haters cited a television documentary that aired only a week ago—just days before the expected High Court ruling.

But according to two different sources, including Bill Donohue’s Catholic League, the documentary is based on allegations that have already been reviewed by the prosecution. And it was the decision of the prosecution to toss out the allegations! So why is a television station airing a documentary about old allegations that were deemed unworthy of a trial? That’s what a lot of people would like to know.

That a television network is allowed to air such biased and misleading propaganda only days before a ruling is expected is made more infuriating by the fact that the trial was kept secret from the public. Which means that the public is likely to have heard only the prosecution’s side of the story! They probably don’t even know certain basic facts of the case:

  • The deceased accuser’s mother, in the current case under review, claimed that he eventually changed his story and denied that Pell ever abused him.
  • The accuser in the TV documentary had his case thrown out by prosecutors.
  • In the current case under consideration by the High Court, there is no logical time frame for the alleged crime to have taken place because at no time was Cardinal Pell ever alone with the accuser—a fact established by witnesses.


Ignorance is a likely explanation for the common Aussie opinion that Pell is guilty. Because the facts of the trial are kept secret, the public’s only source of information is tabloid TV journalism.

But other observers have suggested that anti-Catholic bigotry is also a factor. And the attitudes on Twitter would support that theory:

Pell, it would seem, is another in a long line of victims of identity politics. Like Brett Kavanaugh and Nick Sandmann, Pell is hated, not for anything that he has done, but for what he stands for in the twisted minds of intolerant political extremists.

I leave you with the pinned tweet of one of the Pell-haters who identifies as a member of Antifa. His tweet explains that the purpose of throwing milkshakes is to temporarily blind their victims so that they can be more easily assaulted. Obviously false imprisonment is going to be no big deal for such people.

The Antifa person is explaining his agreement with the assault tactics above. Permissible on people he deems are “Nazis.”

4 thoughts on “Fair Trial for Pell? Not If Social Media Is an Indicator.

  1. Adam

    I am bothered by the people ignoring the evidence that Cardinal Pell was framed. He was an innocent man that was falsely accused, and that really should be the end of that. But he is a priest. A Catholic priest. A high ranking Catholic priest (which is what a bishop is). There was NO evidence against him, in spite of what Aussie Anti Catholic bigots think, and that IS what they are, bigots.

  2. Bob Emery

    It’s odd that your article completely fails to note that Pell has very strong allegations against him of being not merely insensitive to clerical sex abuse, but not only also of being a supporter, and, to some extent, an enabler of sex abusers, and also dismissive and contemptuous of victims. In other words, he is not a saint, and probably richly deserves much of the hate he has received.

  3. Jacob

    It is highly relevant that afterwards in the five minute news bulletins of the BBC, they chose to air the views of a lady who was profoundly displeased at the verdict which she found hurtful to “survivers” — no regret that an innocent man was judged by 7 judges to have been wrongfully imprisoned. That is the hateful attitude of some fanatics and the BBC that gives them a platform to vomit it out.

  4. Pingback: TVESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

Leave a Reply