Cardinal Pell Appeals Conviction
Cardinal Pell was one of Pope Francis’ most trusted advisors and subordinates. He was convicted on five counts of child abuse last December. No information was released pending trial on additional counts. The government just dropped those additional charges, leaving the 77 year old Cardinal facing a sentence of up to 50 years (here). He said he will appeal. The Vatican said it was shocked, but declined further comments pending the appeal (here).
The Vatican should not have been so shocked. Before Pope Francis chose him for key positions, Cardinal Pell was widely reputed to be an abuser. In the normal course of events, he would not have passed a vetting procedure. Pope Francis, however, goes with his ‘gut feel,’ and is surprisingly indifferent to evidence. Thus he vociferously supported a Chilean bishop who was clearly guilty of child abuse. Both cases display the same sort of bad judgment.
While nothing was officially said about it, it seems that the Church is paying Cardinal Pell’s legal expenses. Generally, the Church pays victims of sex abuse a pittance. I think the average compensation is under $10,000, and that’s before the lawyer takes his cut. My guess is that the Church is paying at least 100 times as much to defend a clerical abuser as it pays to the average abuse victim. It shows their true priorities.