The Catholic Weekly https://www.catholicweekly.com.au The Church. All of it. Sun, 05 Apr 2020 08:59:47 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 30,000 log on to view Sydney Palm Sunday Mass https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/30000-log-on-to-view-sydney-palm-sunday-mass/ Sun, 05 Apr 2020 08:59:47 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40932 Healthcare workers, those providing pastoral care, “the isolated and anxious, elderly and vulnerable, ‘locked down’ in their homes, some feeling alone and afraid” are all with Christ in Holy Week and He is with them

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP stands outside St Mary’s Cathedral on Palm Sunday morning. An estimated 30,000 people tuned on to watch the Mass livestreamed from the cathedral. Photo: Fr Lewi Barakat

At least 30,000 people tuned into Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP’s Palm Sunday Mass livestreamed from St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday morning, smashing previous viewing figures.

The numbers reflected the unique situation Catholics and Christians face around the nation with churches and cathedral ordered shut by the federal government.

On a normal weekend, two or three thousand normally attend Cathedral services, with that number swelling to approximately 5000-6000 for the greatest events in the Christian year, Easter and Christmas.

The Church must be present to everyone

The numbers came as good news to the Archdiocese of Sydney, which had extensively promoted the availability of the Mass as a livestreamed event in lieu of being physically present.

Meanwhile, the challenge for the Church and Catholics in the midst of a pandemic that has so far claimed 60,000 lives globally is be more present to the sick, the dying and the dead, Archbishop Fisher told Catholics in a message emphasising that God is present to everyone at this time.

“They are there alongside Christ in Holy Week and He is with them right now,” the Archbishop told viewers across greater Sydney, the state and the nation.

[The sick, the dying and the dead] are there alongside Christ in Holy Week and He is with them right now

Healthcare, essential services, civic authorities: God is present to all

Yet the Church is also challenged to be present to more than just those suffering from Coronavirus, he said.

Healthcare workers, those providing pastoral care, “the isolated and anxious, elderly and vulnerable, ‘locked down’ in their homes, some feeling alone and afraid” are all with Christ in Holy Week and He is with them, the Archbishop assured an invisible audience.

The same applied to essential service workers, civic leaders and public health authorities who are charged with keeping the economy and civic order going while leading society to safety after the virus, he said.

Christ is also present, he said, to those he described as “the ordinary folk, perhaps with livelihoods evaporating before their eyes, financially, emotionally or spiritually insecure”.

Do not be afraid

“The financially, emotionally and spiritually insecure, the ordinary and extraordinary Australians, all are there with Christ in Holy Week and He is with them now,” he said.

Archbishop Fisher paid tribute to those he described as “the great pray-ers and do-ers of our community, who keep us spiritually on course, who amidst fear and separation build hope and connection, and in response to church closures have made their homes more truly ‘domestic churches’.

These must reach out to both God and the community more than ever, he urged, noting also that “those who intercede and serve are there with Christ in Holy Week and He is with them here and now.”

God’s acts are visible in those He inspires

Archbishop Fisher rejected the notion that Coronavirus is an ‘act of God.’

“No, the acts of God right now are the acts He inspires in His faithful people and the wonders of protection and healing He grants at their intercession,” he said.

The Archdiocese’s Good Friday service commemorating Christ’s Passion at 3pm and Easter Sunday Mass at 10.30am will be nationally broadcast on Channel 7, Prime 7 in regional areas, and live-streamed on 7plus.

Related

Channel 7 to broadcast Easter nationally

Aussie priests take their people to the Blessed Sacrament

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IMG_2422_post Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP stands outside St Mary's Cathedral on Palm Sunday morning. An estimated 30,000 people tuned on to watch the Mass livestreamed from the cathedral. Photo: Fr Lewi Barakat
Aussie priests take people to the Blessed Sacrament https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/aussie-priests-take-people-to-the-blessed-sacrament/ Sun, 05 Apr 2020 02:03:06 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40919 I wonder now if all the themes raised for the 2020 Plenary will have any relevance post-Coronavirus?

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Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is livestreamed on Facebook by Father Tom Kovatch, a US priest in Indiana. Victorian priest Fr Marcus Goulding has initiated a growing online Eucharistic Adoration campaign which is being supported by Catholics in and outside his Laverton parish and fellow Australian clergy, including the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. Photo: CNS, Katie Rutter

Ingenious uses of new technology by some imaginative and diligent priests and deacons have done much to assist the faithful to pray, see and hear Masses, liturgical readings, music and prayers during the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The promotion of Spiritual Communion has revived among isolated Catholics a traditional practice of prayerfully desiring union with Christ in the Eucharist.

Good – but no replacement

This virtual “new normal” does not replace the true and embodied sacramental life of the Church.  While it is important that Catholic “influencers” and writers remain uplifting, we cannot be tone deaf to the rawness of “exile” which many Catholics are experiencing in both small and in spiritually serious ways.

Fr Marcus Goulding, a young Melbourne priest, is acutely conscious of the real harm of this ecclesial and sacramental separation.

“I am aware that we priests are the ones who have access to the Christ in The Blessed Sacrament, while our people do not,” he told The Catholic Weekly.

A new initiative begun by a Victorian Parish Priest enable Catholics around the country to engage in Eucharistic Adoration from afar. Laverton priest Fr Marcus Goulding’s Adoration Project is being supported by a national association, the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, which is promoting the initiative on its webpage.

Innovation – adoring from afar

He has devised a way for priests around Australia, to carry their people in solidarity and prayer in Perpetual Adoration before The Blessed Sacrament during the seven days of this coming Holy Week.

“It is a really simple idea,” Fr Goulding explains, “Through the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy we are inviting all priests, ACCC members and beyond, to commit themselves to one hour (or several hour-long sessions) before the tabernacles of their own closed churches or chapels, in prayer and adoration.”

“Perpetual Adoration for Holy Week begins at 12am on Sunday, 5th April 2020 (Palm Sunday) and concludes at 11.59pm on Sunday, 12th April 2020 (Easter Sunday)”

Priests get behind new approach

“The continuous prayer before the Lord will be for the needs of our people, for the Church and for the healing of the afflicted and the  overcoming of the Coronavirus.”

Fr Goulding is tech-savvy and is using Calendly software to co-ordinate the adoration roster while protecting the priests’ privacy.  Through it he will communicate via email and generate SMS reminders within 24 hours of their chosen adoration time slots.

“The response from the priests has been very positive – just from priests around Victoria alone – but we are inviting priests from all across Australia to join us.”

A US priest leads Adoration in th e carpark of his Church while parishioners participate, remaining in self-solation, in their cars. Photo: CNS, Andrew Biraj, Catholic Standard

Virus creates new challenges for the Church

Father Goulding, as well as serving as the Secretary of the Confraternity, is also the newly appointed Assistant Priest to the busy Holy Trinity Catholic parish cluster of Laverton, Altona Meadows and Point Cook on the South-west rim of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay.

Until the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, it was a rapidly developing and culturally diverse area of new housing development with an influx of young families and tradespeople.

Fr Goulding is especially conscious of the social, psychological and economic burdens which the pandemic is imposing on his parishioners.   He suspects that the “after” of the crisis will throw up many new questions and challenges for the Church and for parishes like his.

Fr Goulding reflected on the important lessons from this watershed in time: “I wonder now if all the themes raised for the 2020 Plenary will have any relevance post-Coronavirus?  We will be forced to re-evaluate how we participate in the Church both as priests and people.”

Father Marcus Goulding can be reached via the ACCC website or his Facebook page. Email: secretary@clergy.asn.au or marcus.goulding@cam.org.au

Related

Dr Wes Ely: spiritual Communion when there’s no Eucharist available

Fr John Flader: You can also offer the sacrifice of NOT being at Mass

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US_priest_post Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is livestreamed on Facebook by Father Tom Kovatch, A US priest in Indiana. Victorian priest Fr Marcus Collins has initiated a growing online Eucharistic Adoration campaign which is being aupported by Catholics in- and outside his parish and fellow Australian clergy, including the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. Photo: CNS, Katie Rutter Adoration-Project_post Carpark_adoration_post A US priest leads Adoration in th e carpark of his Church while parishioners participate, remaining in self-solation, in their cars. Photo: CNS, Andrew Biraj, Catholic Standard
Food for body and soul offered to Sydney’s struggling https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/food-for-body-and-soul-offered-to-sydneys-struggling/ Sat, 04 Apr 2020 21:00:19 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40862 Inner city food and support service braces for even greater need Canice’s Kitchen in Elizabeth Bay this week launched a take-away pre-packed meal service for the homeless and other people needing extra support during the coronavirus pandemic. Nestled underneath St Canice’s church in Elizabeth Bay, the fully donor-supported soup kitchen and drop-in space has operated […]

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Volunteer Adrian Simmons cleans the dining room at Canice’s Kitchen, before it was temporarily closed on 17 March. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Inner city food and support service braces for even greater need

Canice’s Kitchen in Elizabeth Bay this week launched a take-away pre-packed meal service for the homeless and other people needing extra support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nestled underneath St Canice’s church in Elizabeth Bay, the fully donor-supported soup kitchen and drop-in space has operated for nearly 30 years.

Now, like many other support services across the city, it is adapting to meet public health restrictions and the increased needs of its guests amid extraordinary circumstances.

Volunteers no longer meet in the kitchen, but form virtual teams using technology to cook in small groups from their homes. From 1 April they’ve dropped meals to the two Canice’s caretakers who then provide them at the front gate at lunchtime, following social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

Carrie Deane, community manager at Canice’s Kitchen in Sydney. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Canice’s is also partnering with local cafes which will prepare meals paid for by volunteers. The take-away service will operate three days a week with the goal of operating daily in a few week’s time, says community manager Carrie Deane.

“We anticipate this may be the situation for at least six months and are planning for support services to keep running even through these challenging times,” Ms Deane said.

“Devastatingly, we expect the need to be even greater”

“As we move forward through this pandemic we are now also planning for what our city will look like post COVID-19. Devastatingly, we expect the need to be even greater. I am working on how we can meet that demand as greater numbers of vulnerable Australians emerge after this disaster.”

Ms Deane said the service needs to raise $50,000 to resume daily meal offerings, as well as access to toiletries and sanitary items, plus to meet the increased cleaning costs necessary to re-open the showers and toilets.

It has opened an online fundraiser at canices-kitchen-emergency-fund.raisely.com

When The Catholic Weekly visited Canice’s Kitchen last month it was a calm and friendly oasis in Sydney’s bustling inner east.

Sandwiches, salads, sweet treats and fruit are now packed into lunch boxes and given away at the kitchen’s Roslyn Gardens gate. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Three men lingered chatting over a table in a  courtyard graced with potted plants and overhung by a stately jacaranda, while another sat with two staffy cross puppies and their mother resting at his feet.

Inside, volunteers were wiping down the tables in the bright dining room decorated with original local artworks and religious images.

Guests, volunteers and staff alike loved its transformation from stark and sterile something that is more like a comfortable but trendy cafe. Aesthetic changes are just one part of the revamp, with an early morning program launched to offer much-needed support to local disadvantaged and socially isolated people.

Prior to the shutdown, the doors opened each day from 8am offering hot beverages and pastries, newspapers and renovated bathroom facilities where toiletries and towels were also provided.

Treating people with the dignity they deserve

“Start your day with Cani’s is the name of our new campaign which is about giving some of our most vulnerable people the dignity they deserve,” said manager Carrie Deane, Canice’s Kitchen community manager.

“They don’t have a chance like we all do to roll out of a nice comfy bed, grab a cup of coffee and have a shower and something to eat before going outside. Here they could go to the toilet and have a shower, if you’re a woman you could change a tampon, things like that which are so necessary but difficult if you are living on the streets.

“It’s a clean, safe space and our two caretakers are a point of contact for any emergency support such as the police or a counsellor. We aim to provide a level of early morning support that currently in our area doesn’t exist.”

Gilly, a Canice’s Kitchen regular, pictured with his puppies Ocean and Woodstock. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

A strict usage policy and some rearranging and brightening of the spaces attracted more women to use the facilities than in the past. “Our tagline is ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home and we are the heart of the community’,” said Ms Deane.

The lunchtime service, which would usually cater for 150 people each day, was upgraded. Teams of volunteers from across the city dish up their favourite recipes with staples such as fresh meats and fish provided by Canice’s.

On the menu when The Catholic Weekly visited were homemade hamburgers, toasted sandwiches, pizza and an assortment of rolls and fresh sandwiches. Dessert was a selection of peanut brownies and lamingtons, scones and ice cream or yoghurt with fruit.

“Our food service is central but it’s all that interaction that happens around the kitchen table that provides that holistic support,” said Ms Deane.

Due to the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, Canice’s Kitchen made the difficult decision to close from 17 March in line with social distancing recommendations from the state and federal governments and NSW Health.

A volunteer cooking team before the shutdown. With the kitchen now closed, they are working remotely via virtual teams and dropping off full lunchboxes. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Gilly has been living on the streets for nearly four years and before it closed on 17 March would visit daily for lunch with his staffy cross dog Samantha and her puppies Ocean and Woodstock.

“The service that Canice’s Kitchen provides is very important in supporting the low cost housing people who live around here and people living in homeless circumstances like myself and my animals,” Gilly said.

“They’re very compassionate here and they provide good meals, actually awesome, tasty meals compared with other places I’ve been to before. Everything is bright and clean and the people here are all friendly and compassionate and always willing to help out. They are awesome to talk to.”

The community kitchen is part of the Jesuit parish’s outreaches which also includes David’s Place, Vinnies, and supporting a community in East Timor. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Sue Shaw, who leads one of the daily volunteer teams, said she has been helping out with friends from across Sydney for 11 years and that it is better today than ever.

“It’s not institutionalised like it used to be. Everything was exactly the same, the chairs and tables and everyone sat in the same places, and it was very stark,” she said.

“Little touches like a lovely little wooden dresser to serve the coffee and tea from instead of a stainless tea trolley make it really beautiful, and the food is amazing now.”

Parish manager Lynelle Lembryk said the drop-in space is a bright spot in Sydney which continues to be a vital community-building outreach. “What I like the most is that it allows other parishes to come in and form that larger network of parish communities working to support vulnerable people,” she said.

Related articles:

Feast for homeless a Heaven on Earth
Saving Sydney’s desperate souls

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20200228_cw_canicekitchen_008 (1) Volunteer Adrian Simmons cleans the dining room at Canice's Kitchen, before it was temporarily closed on 17 March. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok Carrie-Deane_Canices-Kitchen_280220_Fok_850 Carrie Deane, community manager at Canice's Kitchen in Sydney. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok Food_Canices-Kitchen_280220_Fok_850 Sandwiches, salads, sweet treats and fruit are now packed into lunch boxes and given away at the property entrance. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok 20200228_cw_canicekitchen_004 20200228_cw_canicekitchen_014 A volunteer cooking team before the shutdown. With the kitchen now closed, they are working remotely via virtual teams and dropping off full lunchboxes. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok 20200228_cw_canicekitchen_015 The community kitchen is one of the Jesuit parish's outreaches which also includes David's Place, Vinnies, and supporting a community in East Timor. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok
Missing Mass? Don’t complain … https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/missing-mass-dont-complain/ Sat, 04 Apr 2020 06:28:56 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40910 The problem, for Amos, is that the people he is addressing are neglecting and mistreating the widows and orphans, the poor and vulnerable, but still showing up to worship in the temple.

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A priest distributes Holy Communion during a March. Catholicism is a tactile religion. Catholics miss deeply the sights, smells, taste and sounds of theEucharist when they gather to receive it. Going to Mass, for them, is not like going to a meeting or a cinema, but going to their home. Photo: CNS, Karen Bonar, The Register

I miss Mass. I miss the sound and smell, the bells, the music, the incense and the people.

I know God wants me to go to Church. God wants to give me forgiveness, mercy and salvation every time.

So it feels very strange to see the Church doors shut. It feels very strange to miss a Sunday Mass. How could the government shut the Church doors? How could the bishops urge us to respect the shutdown? Does not God want us to worship Him? Is not God always happy with our worship? According to the prophet Amos, it seems not. Not in some cases. In Amos 5, God says:

“I hate, I despise your feasts,
    and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
    I will not accept them,
and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts
    I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
    to the melody of your harps I will not listen. (Amos 5:21-23)

God tells Israel to cease worship?

In Amos’s time, God seems to be telling His people to stop worshipping. It is not that worship of God in his Temple is a bad thing. It is not. It is not that their songs, prayers and incense is a bad thing, they are not. True worship of God is the first and most important priority of Christian life. The bells, incense and music that accompany sacred liturgy are part of our proper reverence for God.

The problem, for Amos, is that the people he is addressing are neglecting and mistreating the widows and orphans, the poor and vulnerable, but still showing up to worship in the temple. Through the Prophet Amos, God makes it clear that the neglect of the most vulnerable in our community is incompatible with true worship of God. In fact, God says that such worship is abhorrent to Him!

Just as with other aspects of the Mass, so with incense. A Vatican worker prepares incense for a prayer service led by Pope Francis in an empty St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 27 March. At the conclusion of the service the pope held the Eucharist as he gave an extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world). The service was livestreamed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: CNS, Yara Nardi, pool via Reuters

We see a similar story in the first chapter of Isaiah, where God refuses the worship of people who have contributed to the exploitation and even the death of the poor. No doubt many in Isaiah’s audience would claim that they did not personally cause the poor to suffer. They were living their lives, managing their investments or going about their occupations, and coming to worship as pious people do. But to them God says:

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of he-goats.

 “When you come to appear before me,
    who requires of you
    this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
    incense is an abomination to me…

When you spread forth your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood. (Isa 1:11-15)

What then of our situation? The best medical and scientific evidence available tell us that gathering for public worship will contribute to the spread of a dangerous disease. The disease is particularly deadly for people who are the most vulnerable in our community; the old, the young and middle aged with diabetes, asthma, heart conditions, disabilities or any kind of condition that makes them more vulnerable than the rest of us.

To insist on our “right” to receive God’s grace is problematic in itself, but to insist on our “right” to public worship at this time is to place our piety above the lives of the most vulnerable in our community. If we disregard the very sensible instructions from Church and state authorities, we increase the grave risk these most vulnerable people face. This is especially true of some imprudent people encouraging contempt for proper Church and State authority and inciting rebellion against temporary restrictions. Particularly when these restrictions are a temporary measure, designed to protect the most vulnerable.

An Iraqi man wearing a protective face mask and gloves gives a bottle of water to a homeless man in Basra on 2 April 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. During his morning Mass April 2, Pope Francis prayed that the coronavirus pandemic may awaken people’s consciences to the plight of homeless men and women suffering in the world. Photo: CNS, Essam al-Sudani, Reuters

Do good …

What would God say is our priority at this time? He tells us in the very next lines in Isaiah that we must:

“…learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
defend the fatherless,
    plead for the widow.”

Through the prophet Isaiah, God commands his people to care first for the most vulnerable in our community. We cannot attend Mass with a clear conscience if that action increases the grave risk to those most vulnerable. Care first for the widow and orphan, the sick and lame, the weakest and most vulnerable, says the Lord. Only then can we dare to come into His presence with clean hands and heart. And, when we return to Mass, oh what a celebration that will be!

Related

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Communion A priest distributes Holy Communion during a March. Catholicism is a tactile religion. Catholics miss deeply the sights, smells, taste and sounds of theEucharist when they gather to receive it. Going to Mass, for them, is not like going to a meeting or a cinema, but going to their home. Photo: CNS, Karen Bonar, The Register Incense Just as with other aspects of the Mass, so with incense. A Vatican worker prepares incense for a prayer service led by Pope Francis in an empty St Peter's Square at the Vatican on 27 March. At the conclusion of the service the pope held the Eucharist as he gave an extraordinary blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world). The service was livestreamed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: CNS, Yara Nardi, pool via Reuters Homeless_postB An Iraqi man wearing a protective face mask and gloves gives a bottle of water to a homeless man in Basra on 2 April 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. During his morning Mass April 2, Pope Francis prayed that the coronavirus pandemic may awaken people's consciences to the plight of homeless men and women suffering in the world. Photo: CNS, Essam al-Sudani, Reuters
Time and timing crucial to Cardinal Pell appeal https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/time-and-timing-crucial-to-cardinal-pell-appeal/ Sat, 04 Apr 2020 00:27:35 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40899 The DPP also changed the prosecution’s earlier assertion that the offending occurred in the priests’ sacristy in the five or six minutes immediately after Mass.

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The High Court of Australia in Canberra. The result of Cardinal Pell’s appeal against his conviction will be handed down by the justices of the Court in Brisbane on Tuesday morning 7 April at 10.00am

The High Court decision on Tuesday morning will be discussed in a livestreamed event at 7.30pm (details below)

Cardinal George Pell’s appeal to the High Court took place on March 11 and 12. The case was heard by a Full Bench of the High Court, which includes all seven justices currently on the court.

Cardinal Pell was not present – he is confined in Barwon Prison, a high-security facility in Victoria.

He was appealing against a 2:1 majority verdict of the Victorian Court of Appeal of last August. It has taken over six months for this matter to reach the High Court of Australia. He was not directly appealing against the original jury verdict, but against the majority verdict of the Court of Appeal.

Two grounds for appeal

His case rested on two propositions:

  1. The majority in the Court of Appeal erred in their assertion that the complainant was so credible that Cardinal Pell had to establish that the offending was impossible. In other words, that Cardinal Pell was required to prove his innocence, rather than the prosecution proving his guilt.
  2. The majority of the Court of Appeal erred in finding that the jury verdicts were not unreasonable, in light of all the evidence contradicting it.

One day was given to Cardinal Pell’s barrister, Bret Walker SC, to put Cardinal Pell’s case. The second day was given to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Victoria, represented by Crown prosecutor Kerri Judd SC, to support the decision of the Court of Appeal.

Cardinal Pell speaks at the Vatican in June 2017. Photo: CNS phoyo/Remo Casilli, Reuters

Some unexpected turns

Overall, I was impressed by the way the High Court justices understood the key matters in the case purely from the documents filed by Cardinal Pell’s team, and by the DPP.

As often happens in legal cases, the High Court took the appeal in directions which were quite unexpected.

When Cardinal Pell’s barrister raised the question of the Court of Appeal’s decision to review video evidence from the trial, several of the judges queried whether it was proper for the Court of Appeal to view selected video recordings from the trial, rather than the whole trial.

Witnesses

If the High Court rules that the Victorian Court of Appeal wrongly viewed selected video evidence, that alone could reverse its decision.

A second point referred to the credibility of the complainant, which the jury and the majority of the Court of Appeal accepted completely. Cardinal Pell’s barrister pointed out that, at the trial, all the witnesses were called by the defence, and the Crown did not attack the credibility of the witnesses, including the Master of Ceremonies, Monsignor Charles Portelli, and the sacristan, Max Potter, whose evidence alone made the allegations against Cardinal Pell impossible.

In questions and comments, several judges indicated that this damaged the Crown’s case. As Cardinal Pell’s barrister said: “There was no attempt, on the part of the Crown, to discredit that evidence, apparently without impugning honesty but impugning reliability or accuracy or whatever – there was no attempt to impugn it.”

Australian Cardinal George Pell is surrounded by police as he leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court in October 2017. Photo: CNS, Mark Dadswell, Reuters

Alleged timeframe of allegation

In fact, there were over 20 witnesses, other than the complainant, and not one of them gave evidence corroborating the allegations of the complainant but, in different ways, many of them contradicted him.

The third point related to the alleged five or six minutes after Sunday Solemn Mass when the priests’ sacristy was said to have been empty, and when, the Crown alleged, the abuse took place.

In fact, it was never left unlocked unless people were working there, on the evidence heard in court, or there were people inside and altar servers coming and going to clear things up after Mass. It was called “a hive of activity”. This impressed the judges.

In fact, it was never left unlocked unless people were working there, on the evidence heard in court, or there were people inside and altar servers coming and going to clear things up after Mass

The Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions opened by arguing that it was right for the Court of Appeal to examine the complainant’s video evidence at trial. She said: “It became part of the record in the sense of all of the other evidence.”

However, several judges challenged her on this, asking her whether it was entered as an exhibit at the trial, to which the answer was “No”.

Allegations changed

The DPP also changed the prosecution’s earlier assertion that the offending occurred in the priests’ sacristy in the five or six minutes immediately after Mass. She now said that it occurred after the procession at the end of Mass. But she refused to say exactly when the alleged offending could have occurred, saying that there was no evidence on that point.

Several judges pointed out that the cathedral sacristan, Max Potter, said in evidence that he and the altar servers would begin clearing the altar five or six minutes after the cathedral procession began, after the procession had returned to the priests’ sacristy.

He said he kept the priests’ sacristy locked until the procession returned to the sacristy.

Questions raised by changes in Prosecution’s case

The DPP claimed that the alleged assaults occurred after the procession returned to the sacristy when there were numerous people in the sacristy and the area near it.

This, of course, raises immediate questions. Where were the altar servers (usually six or more in number); and where were concelebrating clergy, who unvested after Mass in the priests’ sacristy?

Justice Bell said: “Ms Judd, if the opportunity evidence left open the reasonable possibility that the offence could not occur, the appeal was all over too, and that is, in essence, as I understand, the applicant’s argument.”

Evidence from Monsignor Portelli

Justice Bell added: “The court became distracted by the sort of flourish that defence counsel commonly might employ in an address to the jury, perhaps to the forensic disadvantage of the applicant, pitching the test too high. Impossibility was never the issue, [which was] elimination of the reasonable possibility of the existence of an alibi or other circumstance that left a doubt.”

There was debate about the evidence of Mgr Portelli, the Master of Ceremonies at the cathedral at the time. Mgr Portelli gave evidence that he was always at the Archbishop’s side, and that he accompanied him after Mass outside the cathedral to meet and greet the congregation.

Ms Judd, however, said: “Portelli essentially does not have a recollection about those two days.”

Mmedia converge on Cardinal Pell during his trial.

Mr Justice Nettle shot back: “Well, he said he was with Pell on both the occasions, 15 December and 22 December [1996]?”

Although the DPP attempted to discredit Mgr Portelli’s evidence by pointing to occasions when he said he could not remember details of what had happened on a particular day 20 years before, it was clear that he firmly believed that the allegations against Cardinal Pell were both unbelievable and impossible.

The DPP conceded that, if the High Court formed the conclusion that the complainant’s evidence was unreliable in relation to the first offence, it would undermine his credibility with regard to the second.

A Prosecution concession

She said: “But the difficulty is, it depends on the path that the Court takes, I suppose, but if you decide, for example, that the timing is such that it just could not have happened you are rejecting the complainant’s evidence that it did happen. That is the reasoning. It depends on – it just might depend on the reasoning process, but I imagine we would have some difficulties.”

It was clear that the DPP was completely out of her depth, and the judges were not satisfied by her answers.

Defence slams ‘improvised’ prosecution

In a short subsequent address by Cardinal Pell’s barrister, he described the Crown’s case as an “improvisation”, including putting forward claims for which there was no evidence, “misreading of the evidence”, and “an improvised and rickety construction of a Crown case to make something fit that will not fit.” These statements were not challenged by any of the High Court justices.

The Chief Justice invited the applicant to put in a short submission on what should be done in relation to the credibility of the second incident, if the court did not accept that the first had occurred. She also invited the Director of Public Prosecutions to respond.

The High Court’s judgement will be handed down on Tuesday 7 April. It will, as was the appeal in the Victorian Supreme Court, be decided by majority decision.

Livestreamed discussion of the decision

Peter Westmore, who attended all of Cardinal Pell’s trials and appeals, will discuss the result of the High Court’s decision, together with Terri Kelleher, the national spokesperson for the Australian Family Association, from Melbourne at 7pm on Tuesday (AEDT). The event will be livestreamed and bookings for participation can be made here.

This article first appeared at www.newsweekly.com.au

Related

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High_Court_of_Australia_POST The High Court of Australia in Canberra. The result of Cardinal Pell's appeal against his conviction will be handed down by the justices of the Court in Brisbane on Tuesday morning 7 April at 10.00am PELL_VATICAN_POST Cardinal Pell speaks at the Vatican in June 2017. Photo: CNS phoyo/Remo Casilli, Reuters CARDINAL-APPEAL-ARGUMENTS_POST Australian Cardinal George Pell is surrounded by police as he leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court in October 2017. Photo: CNS, Mark Dadswell, Reuters CARDINAL_COURT_MEDIA Mmedia converge on Cardinal Pell during his trial.
Monica Doumit: The NRL, daughters and what standards? https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/monica-doumit-the-nrl-daughters-and-what-standards/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:00:40 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40827 Double standard seen in rugby players luring schoolgirls into hotels In the days leading up to the NRL season opener, a scandal broke out that saw two Bulldogs players, Jayden Okunbor, 23, and Corey Harawira-Naera , 24, stood down from the team after allegedly bringing teenage girls back to the club’s hotel in Port Macquarie […]

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Double standard seen in rugby players luring schoolgirls into hotels

In the days leading up to the NRL season opener, a scandal broke out that saw two Bulldogs players, Jayden Okunbor, 23, and Corey Harawira-Naera , 24, stood down from the team after allegedly bringing teenage girls back to the club’s hotel in Port Macquarie and having sex with them.

It is reported that the girls both attend the same school, which Okunbur and other Bulldogs players visited last month. Okunbor met the schoolgirl he invited back to his room on that visit, while Harawira-Naera met his schoolgirl while she was at her after-school job.

It was reported that Okunbor and the girl in question traded messages on Instagram and Snapchat. Images of their discussions have emerged online, including one where Okunbor asked the 16 year-old-girl to “show tits.”

The girls were both 16 years old or above, which is the age of legal consent for sexual activity, and so there is no suggestion of illegal activity on the part of the players.

The players were still stood down, though, not because they had sex with schoolgirls, but because they had sex with schoolgirls in the team’s hotel, an action which is against their code of conduct.

It is unclear at this point if the players will return to play, with them being given until this week to show cause for why they should stay and a potential two-week investigation before a decision is made. (Lucky they didn’t quote the Bible like Israel Folau, then the NRL would have been much quicker in declaring their careers over.)

In an alarming discussion of the matter, the NRL’s leading gender adviser, Dr Catharine Lumby, rejected that idea that the incident was a sex scandal. Instead, she insisted, it should be characterised as a “workplace conduct issue” because calling it a sex scandal “implies that these young women, like, it was all inappropriate.”

She went on to say that “women over the age of consent are allowed to have sex, and plenty of them do.” The focus, Dr Lumby said, should be on whether the sex was “consensual, safe and ethical.”

I understand what she is trying to say, and I also understand that this was not criminal behaviour, but I do think that standards should be set much higher than this.

The director of the archdiocese’s Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office, Karen Larkman (second from left) pictured with her staff (from left), Trish Larkin, Rebecca King and Monique Smith. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Think about the Church at the moment. Anyone whose ministry involves any contact with children, defined as those under the age of 18 years, must undergo mandatory safeguarding training and comply with a series of safeguarding standards that prohibit any social media contact with those under the age of 18.

Breaching this would have serious consequences, which would likely see the person suspended from ministry, if not banned altogether.

Or think about the recent dramas at St Kevin’s College in Toorak. There, a former coach who provided private training sessions to boys who were members of an athletics coach attached to the school was convicted of grooming a 15-year-old boy, including through sexually explicit messages via social media.

The school principal who provided a character reference for him for sentencing purposes was forced to step down due to public pressure on him to do so. In light of what we know about the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, we insist on very high standards from those who come into contact with children, as we should.

Time to set the bar higher for conduct

We know that those who are in ministry or who have some type of public profile can, even unknowingly, exert undue influence on children and vulnerable adults, so we set a high bar for our conduct, in many cases prohibiting conduct that is legal, such as adults contacting 16-year-olds via social media, or being alone in the same room as them for any reason at all.

Isn’t it time our sporting codes did the same?

Whatever the legality of their actions, isn’t it time that we insisted on a higher standard from sporting stars as well, recognising that in the eyes of these teenage girls, they hold a significant amount of influence?

I would suggest that, even though it was not examined in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the NRL should look closely at its findings and the Child Safe Standards developed as a result and implement them in its own work.
I would suggest that any school that allows NRL or other sporting teams to visit their schools to promote their codes should insist upon it.

It would be crazy to think that such a high standard set for staff in schools and parishes could be circumvented by visiting sporting stars.

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rugby-hands-808 We've dropped the ball when it comes to giving sound instruction and example to boys and young men. rugby-guy NIKON-D5_9-7-2017-2-55-29-PM—0325808 The Director of the Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office, Karen Larkman (second from left) pictured with her staff (from left), Trish Larkin, Rebecca King and Monique Smith. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli
St Vincent de Paul urges COVID-19 protection for asylum seekers https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/st-vincent-de-paul-urges-covid-19-protection-for-asylum-seekers/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 05:51:42 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40897 The St Vincent de Paul Society is urging the Government to help those seeking asylum during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A refugee prays in front of an image of Christ in a makeshift church in a camp called “The Jungle” in 2015 in the port of Calais, France. (CNS photo/Stephanie Lecocq, EPA) See REPORT-FREEDOM May 3, 2016.

The St Vincent de Paul Society is urging the Federal Government to extend available payments and support to people seeking asylum and those on Bridging Visas in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thousands of people on Bridging Visas have no access to any form of financial support, even when they have no other income,” said The Society’s National Council President Ms Claire Victory.

‘Homeless Jesus’ is pictured in this July photo of the bronze sculpture that sits in front of a downtown Washington building occupied by Catholic Charities of the archdiocese of Washington. Photo: CNS/Chaz Muth

Many Bridging Visa holders have lost employment out of the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19 but are also barred from social security nets  like Centrelink and Medicare available for the wider community. No doubt, the consequences of this will be disastrous if not addressed.  

A pandemic unprecedented in our life-times

The Society’s efforts in raising awareness for this come in tandem with those of the Refugee Council of Australia.

Even in a time when self-isolation, supermarket hoarding and incidents of “roll rage” are on the rise, we see also signs of communion and hope, says Director of Parish 2020 Daniel Ang. Photo: Christopher Corneschi/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
“A pandemic of this nature, unprecedented in our life-times, brings great uncertainty and fear for all of us, but especially the people most vulnerable in our society,” said the Refugee Council of Australia on their website. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons of Australian supermarket emptied by panic buyers during COVID-19

“A pandemic of this nature, unprecedented in our life-times, brings great uncertainty and fear for all of us, but especially the people most vulnerable in our society,” said the Refugee Council of Australia on their website.

“The Society supports the Refugee Council of Australia’s call to the Australian Government to extend COVID-19 supplementary payments and Medicare to those seeking asylum,” said Ms Victory.

we are big enough to show compassion

Despite the challenges facing this country, we are big enough to show compassion and provide meaningful support to this particularly vulnerable group of people in our community.”

Archbishop Fisher with St Vincent de Paul Society represenatives – Sydney President Mr Tony Cranney (left) and NSW President Mr Peter MaccNamara (right) PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli 2019

The Society nonetheless welcomed recent advancements in welfare made by the Federal Government to provide better security to struggling Australians displaced by the recent crisis.

If you know any friends, family or parishioners seeking asylum or are on Bridging Visas visit the Refugee Council of Australia website for information and support. 

For information for all those on Centrelink during COVID-19 click here for a comprehensive information sheet provided by Economic Justice Australia.

If you are feeling distressed because of COVID-19 call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and speak to someone now

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REFUGEE PRAYS CAMP FRANCE A refugee prays in front of an image of Christ in a makeshift church in a camp called "The Jungle" in 2015 in the port of Calais, France. (CNS photo/Stephanie Lecocq, EPA) See REPORT-FREEDOM May 3, 2016. ‘Homeless Jesus’ pictured in photo of seven-foot-long bronze sculpture in Washington 'Homeless Jesus' is pictured in this July photo of the bronze sculpture that sits in front of a downtown Washington building occupied by Catholic Charities of the archdiocese of Washington. Photo: CNS/Chaz Muth DanielAng-COVID3 Even in a time when self-isolation, supermarket hoarding and incidents of “roll rage” are on the rise, we see also signs of communion and hope, says Director of Parish 2020 Daniel Ang. Photo: Christopher Corneschi/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 Archbishop-Fisher_Bushfire-Mass_12012020_Giovanni_808 Archbishop Fisher with Vinnies represenatives Sydney President Mr Tony Cranney (left) and NSW President Mr Peter MaccNamara (right) PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli Coronavirus Updates
Churches cast light despite locked doors https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/churches-cast-light-with-night-time-displays/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 00:30:17 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40854 Dotted around Sydney each night are new reminders that Christ is always beacon of hope.

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Children’s prayers, flowers and a cross form part of the sacred symbol display at St Patrick’s Mortlake. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Churches may be locked but as the nights get cooler and public health precautions stricter,  Sydney parishes are keeping the lights on to remind us that Christ will always be a beacon of hope in life’s dark times.

In Mortlake in Sydney’s inner west, the three large arched windows of St Patrick’s church foyer which overlooks Gale Street have become a life-sized shrine which is visible day and night.

In the centre is a cross draped with a purple cloth, to the left the prayer intention book listing names of the parish’s deceased and a picture of St Mary MacKillop of the Cross. At the right are details of how to connect with the parish online.

Across the windows are posted drawings and prayers written by children on paper shamrocks (a symbol used by St Patrick to represent God) for those who affected by the coronavirus.

“Dear God, please look after those who are sick”

“Dear God, help those that are sick,” reads one of the prayers at the church shrine in Mortlake. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“Dear God, please look after those who are sick, please look after each and every one of them,” reads one along a coloured-in image of Jesus healing the paralysed man from the Gospels.

Parish administrator Father Tom Stevens said the heart-warming display is an attempt to connect with people, including parishioners upset at the suspension of Masses, in a non-physical way.

“It symbolises what Catholicism is – the bringing together of all those different groups and the saints with the cross as a sign of hope in the centre,” he said.

The whole church community, including Australian St Mary MacKillop, is symbolically represented in the Mortlake church display. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Fr Stevens presided at two funerals last week for life-time parishioner John Walker and another long-time parishioner George Cepak following hygiene rules and the current 10-person limit on funerals. “They were actually quite beautiful,” he said. “Having just a few close family members there at the end of the day is a pretty simple and powerful message.”

The parish will create a new sacred symbol display for Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
Other churches across Sydney which are keeping alight at night include the Maronite co-cathedral of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harris Park. The entire domed roof is lit in purple, the colour of Lent, while the large statue of Our Lady at its apex is spotlighted.

“We are keeping the lights on as a reminder and symbol that the light of Christ can never be put out,” said the cathedral’s dean Father Tony Sarkis.

Our Lady of Lebanon in Harris Park is highlighting the powerful intercession of Christ’s mother Mary amid the pandemic. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“His light is the lamp that guides our steps, especially during these difficult times. The light is a reminder to us that we are also called to be the Light of the world. The lights that are shining on the statue of Our Lady remind us that she is also with us in this time.

“At the cross, Jesus gave the church Mary as a mother and a guide, through her intercession, we will be able to get through the present darkness.”

Doors locked, but the Church is ‘still open for business’

At St Charles Borromeo church in Ryde and Our Lady Queen of Peace in Gladesville the traditional stained-glass windows are on display in all their glory as parish priest Father Greg Morgan FMVD leaves the lights on every night.

Soon to be added are banners for the front of the churches which will read “Christ is our Light”.

St Charles Borromeo in Ryde shines as a beacon of hope during the closing of churches. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“Since we are prevented by public health and safety guidelines from opening the doors of our churches to our people, who may need Christ now more than ever, we will at least be keeping the lights on all night long at our churches for as long as this coronavirus crisis lasts,” Father Morgan said.

“We want people to know that Jesus has not forgotten them, and that the Church is still ‘open for business’ even if the doors be closed.”

How is your parish community responding to people’s spiritual and practical needs at this time? Drop us a line at cweditor@catholicweekly.com.au and let us know.

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Light-display_Mortlake_Fok_300320_850 Children's prayers, flowers and a cross form part of the sacred symbol display at St Patrick's Mortlake. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok Light-display3_Mortlake_Fok_300320_850 Light-display2_Mortlake_Fok_300320_850 20200401_cw_OLOL_005-2 St-Charles_Ryde_310320_Fok_850 St Charles Borromeo in Ryde shines as a beacon of hope during the closing of churches. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok Coronavirus Updates
Alarm at radical assisted suicide plan https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/alarm-at-radical-assisted-suicide-push-in-queensland/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 22:19:57 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40826 Proposed law would extend access to persons without a definite prognosis.

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nurse adjust patient's IV needle.
Bishop says report’s timing is like ‘salt in the wound’ as heath professionals fight to save lives from the COVID-19.

Proposed plan would extend to persons without a definite prognosis

A proposed assisted suicide regime in Queensland which would be the country’s most radical has been roundly condemned by advocates and faith leaders.

Queensland’s parliamentary health committee report examining end-of-life issues was tabled on March 31.

It recommends widening the scope of accessibility and lowering important safeguards, including that it not only apply to the terminally ill expecting to die within six months, as is the case in Victoria and from July 2021, Western Australia.

Rather, any adult permanent Queensland resident could be considered who has “an advanced and progressive terminal, chronic or neurodegenerative medical condition that cannot be alleviated in a manner acceptable to the person, and that the condition will cause death”.

A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo: CNS
A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo: CNS

The report also recommends that no counselling be required and that a person with a mental illness is not disqualified from accessing assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge said that the recommendations came as no surprise “given the cultural tide of this time and the resources invested by the supporters of physician-assisted suicide”.

‘Dark irony’ in the timing

“But there is a dark irony that these recommendations appear at a time when the COVID-19 crisis is casting the shadow of death across the planet – and with these recommendations and any legislation that may follow from them that shadow grows darker,” he told The Catholic Leader.

He noted that the report was tabled at a time when suicide rates in Australia had reached an alarming level. “Now it is proposed that suicide become an acceptable option in law, and one wonders what signal this sends,” he said.

The Australian Catholic Bishop’s delegate for euthanasia Bishop Tim Harris said that the fresh impetus for debate on assisted suicide during the coronavirus pandemic was like “rubbing salt into the wound”.

“Here we are talking about preserving life and fighting for life, not taking it away,” he told The Catholic Weekly. “We’ll never be the same again because of where we seem to be going in relation to the assisted suicide legislation being presented to state parliaments around the country.”

The report came in two parts, with the first highlighting a desperate need for better palliative care resources, particularly in remote and regional areas of the state.

The committee heard that regional Queensland had one palliative care specialist instead of the recommended eight, and that nurses in aged care homes have no palliative care training.

The report recommends that in remote and regional areas where there are insufficient doctors, that registered nurses be able to oversee the process including administering a lethal drug subject to the Health Minister’s consent.

Director of HOPE Branka van der Linden said that the report’s conclusions, which came after a 15-month inquiry, were “deeply problematic”.

Reduced safeguards

“The committee has sought to rectify the inequality of access to doctors in rural and remote Queensland not with seeking to invest in more resources and provide incentives for doctors to work in these areas, but rather to lower the bar in terms of safeguards for those in regional and remote areas of the state, many of whom are First Nations peoples,” she said.

Bishop Harris said it was a “disgrace” that quality palliative care is still out of reach for so many people in end of life situations in remote and regional areas. “The response being offered is, rather than try to properly address that problem, let’s help people to access assisted suicide,” he said.

“People will seek to push the envelope further”

“In practice this means the scheme could include a range of conditions that could ultimately be terminal but may be curable or managed, like diabetes. Persons with episodic mental illness can access the scheme if they have a decision-making capacity, which might include many persons with clinical depression.

“All of these extensions to the Victorian scheme reduce safeguards and increase the risk to the vulnerable associated with euthanasia.”

The report recommends that conscientious objection by medical professionals be allowed only so long as the “rights of patients to access the scheme are also protected”.

“Governments will defend their respective legislation, but we all know from overseas experience that there are loopholes everywhere,” said Bishop Harris. “Once a thing is established there will be people seeking to then push the envelope further.”

Related articles:

Monica Doumit: From bad to worse on euthanasia
Sisters’ struggle reveals risk to disabled

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Alarm at radical assisted suicide push in Queensland Proposed plan would extend to persons without a definite prognosis A proposed assisted suicide regime in Queensland which would be the country's most radical has been roundly condemned by advocates and faith leaders. Queensland’s parliamentary health committee report examining end-of-life issues was Assisted Suicide,Euthanasia,Medical Ethics,Queensland Rodrigues-Euthanasia-140719 he legal killing of an ever-widening range of individuals is expanding across Australia. Doumit-200119 A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo: CNS
Date announced for Cardinal Pell High Court decision https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/high-court-to-hand-down-decision-on-cardinal-pell/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:17:22 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=40822 Decision date announced as claims feature in TV documentary The High Court of Australia has announced it will deliver its judgement on Cardinal George Pell’s case in Brisbane on Tuesday 7 April at 10am. It’s understood that the event will not be live-streamed, but a summary of the decision will be published online by the […]

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Cardinal George Pell is surrounded by police as he leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court in October 2017. Photo: Mark Dadswell, Reuters

Decision date announced as claims feature in TV documentary

The High Court of Australia has announced it will deliver its judgement on Cardinal George Pell’s case in Brisbane on Tuesday 7 April at 10am.

It’s understood that the event will not be live-streamed, but a summary of the decision will be published online by the High Court shortly after it is delivered.

Meanwhile, allegations about Cardinal George Pell to be broadcast on the ABC documentary series Revelation are not new, according to a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Sydney in a statement.

The 2 April statement said that they were made to the police in 2016-2017. She wrote that Cardinal Pell “emphatically” denied the allegations when interviewed by the police about them.

“Magistrate Belinda Wallington granted leave for both allegations to be tested at a Committal Hearing,” she said.

“The ABC has named the complainants. A day was booked for ‘B’s’ allegation to be tested. Before that could occur, these allegations were withdrawn by the prosecution. The second complainant, ‘PC’s’ allegation was tested at committal.

“The Director of Public Prosecutions later determined not to proceed with the matter to trial and discontinued the charge. This decision was made prior to Chief Judge Kidd’s tendency ruling.

“Cardinal Pell has always said he is innocent of all and any allegations of sexual abuse.”

Last August the Victorian Court of Appeal upheld a December 2018 jury verdict convicting the 78-year-old in a 2-1 ruling. He had been convicted of abusing two boys inside St Patrick’s Melbourne cathedral in 1996.

Cardinal Pell, who has strenuously maintained his innocence, is currently serving a six-year jail term with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. A full bench of seven judges presided over the High Court hearing on 11 and 12 March.

Related article:

High Court reserves decision on Cardinal Pell

 

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Pell_post_1 Cardinal George Pell is surrounded by police as he leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court in October 2017. Photo: Mark Dadswell, Reuters