August 25, 2019

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“Australian Court to Announce Outcome of Cardinal Pell’s Appeal”

The Vatican News headline this past Tuesday anticipated the live broadcast of the Supreme Court of Victoria in Australia announcing its decision regarding Cardinal George Pell. If the Court overturned the jury’s verdict based on the fact that the verdict they reached was not supported by the evidence presented; the Court could have declared a mistrial or could have ordered a retrial. It is also remotely possible that the Court upheld the jury’s verdict. This decision also can be appealed to Australia’s High Court.

On 1 May 2018, he entered a “not guilty” plea in Melbourne’s Magistrates’ Court, and was ordered to stand trial. Deliberations by the jury began in August 2018 and resulted in a hung jury because jurors were unable to reach either a unanimous or a majority verdict. A retrial began in November with a new jury which came to the conclusion in December that Cardinal Pell was guilty. Witnesses say that even the judge was visibly surprised by the verdict. Immediately after receiving a six-year prison sentence in March of this year Cardinal Pell appealed the verdict. In the meantime he has been in solitary confinement and unable to offer Mass. The Cardinal’s appeal took place over two days in early June. At the beginning of the year I shared publicly my opinion that Cardinal Pell’s exoneration would be one of the great stories of 2019. His tranquility throughout all this reminds me of the virtue with which the late Cardinal Bernardin conducted himself when he was accused in 1993 by a former seminarian who later retracted the charges. They eventually reconciled.

Our friend George Weigel has written extensively on the trial and surely has published another article in the last few days.


Keep reading about this case and pray for the Church in Australia!

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13,8)