Police raid at Archbishop Pell’s office

Police raid at Archbishop Pell’s office

Australian police last week raided the offices of Sydney’s Archbishop George Pell. Evidently, they were looking for letters between Pell and a man who claims to have been raped by a priest more than two decades ago.

It’s a strange case and I’m sure some of the facts must be missing. The victim, who was 29 in 1982, says he was assaulted twice by the priest. He reported the abuse to Church officials the next day, but nothing was done. Fast-forward to 2003: prompted by the Scandal, the victims complains again. Archbishop Pell investigates and concludes that he can’t determine if the incident was consensual or criminal. He advises the man to contact police. The priest is caught confessing what he did, is arrested, and pleads guilty.

  • I saw an article about this as well.  In the one I saw he was referred to as “Mr.” Pell, if I remember correctly.  Couldn’t quite figure it out, but I got the same impression that the police were looking for an excuse to “get” Pell.

    Like you, too, I wondered about the age of the so-called “victim”.  Unless he was a mentally handicapped man, I couldn’t understand how there was any crime associated.  Sin and crime are not exactly the same thing, afterall, unless force was a factor.  And the raid was a surprise, I assumed.  Reminded me of communist raids I read about in the days before Peristroika (sp?).

  • Actually, Cardinal Pell gave the advice needed.  People who are raped SHOULD call the cops.  That’s what you do.  How can people be so dumb as to think otherwise??

    The problem, of course, has been that the cops/judge et al didn’t believe the church was all that corrupt before.  Now they know better.  And so do we.

    A priest is your helper, your spiritual guide when he stays on the topic and acts like it.  But when he gets so far off base that he’s trying to rape you, then he’s a jerk, a creep, a bum off the street as far as you should be concerned.  Deck him, and call the cops.  Don’t be stupid.

  • I’ve seen the “Dr.” used in Europe.  This was the first time I’d seen “Mr.” used in Australia.  Everything else I’ve read about Archbishop Pell has used “Archbishop”.

  • If you look closely, the article is reprinted from the Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper. But I’ve seen “Mr.” used of priests and bishops even in US periodicals. It just depends on their stylebook.

  • I blogged on this a few days ago (http://credibility.blogspot.com/2005/01/sunday-times-police-raid-on-pells-city.html) and there’s something odd here:

    1. Cardinal Pell is referred to throughout as Mr Pell. I would’ve expected doctor or cardinal. Poor fact-checking/editing perhaps? [In Australia, priests are always addressed as Fr/Rev in the papers – never Mr.]

    2. The headline suggests a police “raid” has ocurred recently. In fact the victim filed a complaint with the police in 2002, and police didn’t “raid” the chancery until after they had “caught Goodall, 64, by taping a phonecall made to him by the victim.”* The “raid” occurred on the day the police arrested Goodall. The article notes that the Cardinal’s office “said it had co-operated with all police requests and had advised the victim of his right to go to police.”
    Two questions: 1.) is it accurate to describe the police contact as a raid? and 2.) what information were the police seeking from the chancery?

    Given that the raid occurred upon Goodall’s arrest, and Goodall’s trial has now commenced, is this actually “news”?