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Cardinal Pell and Squirming Catholics

According to the movie Love Story, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Typical Hollywood fluff, you might say. Yet the best answer to that asininity was given by a Hollywood all-star, the late, great Charlton Heston. Asked the secret of what would eventually become his 64-year long marriage to Lydia, Chuck Heston replied, “Learning to say five words: ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong.’”

It’s a lesson that seems especially hard to digest these days, at all points along the polarized spectrums of political and ecclesiastical opinion. One gang that finds it impossible to admit error is the Australian Left, which is still conducting a war of calumny against Cardinal George Pell even after his acquittal by Australia’s High Court of spurious charges the Aussie Left may well have had a hand in concocting. That stubbornness extends to the Catholic subdivision of the Aussie Left, as a recent review in The Australian of the cardinal’s prison diary by Gerard Windsor, a longtime campaigner for Catholic Lite, suggests.

Mr. Windsor gracefully admits that, in Prison Journal: Volume I – The Cardinal Makes His Appeal(Ignatius Press), “there is no self-pity, just the assumption that the wrong eventually will be righted, that God knows what he’s doing, and that the suffering involved can be put to fruitful use.” Windsor admires the cardinal’s heroic resolve in jail, which he rightly attributes to the depth of George Pell’s faith. The first volume of what will be a multi-volume work centers on the cardinal’s hope, eventually frustrated, for vindication by a state appellate court; Mr. Windsor seems to have shared that hope, for he notes that he was one of two people not “on the conservative wavelength” whose supportive letter the cardinal discusses in his diary.

Full marks, then, to Gerard Windsor for discerning what he describes in his review as a “miscarriage of justice.” We can assume that Mr. Windsor was pleased when justice was finally done and the Australian High Court did what that state appellate court inexplicably failed to do, given the emptiness of the prosecution’s case against the cardinal: quash the trial court’s guilty verdict, effectively reprimand the trial jury and the majority of the appellate court, and enter a verdict of acquittal.

Read more at First Things

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