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National award for Pell coverage

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The Catholic Weekly took home the best photo award for Giovanni Portelli’s stunning front-page image “Honouring Him, they come”, taken on Corpus Christi 2021 and published in the 13 June issue. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
The Catholic Weekly took home the best photo award for Giovanni Portelli’s stunning front-page image “Honouring Him, they come”, taken on Corpus Christi 2021 and published in the 13 June issue. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

The Catholic Weekly’s feature on the acquittal of Cardinal George Pell, “Anatomy of a Travesty”, has won the Australasian Catholic Press Association’s 2022 prize for best feature writing.

Fr Frank Brennan’s dissection of the Pell proceedings, published in the 5 September 2021 issue of The Catholic Weekly, concluded the Cardinal “should never have even been charged”.

“I am delighted that the piece was judged worthy of an award. It was always difficult for anyone in the Catholic Church to write publicly about this matter,” Fr Brennan told The Catholic Weekly.

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“The Pell saga was an appalling police sting operation protracted by grossly erroneous judicial reasoning by Victoria’s two most senior judges.

“The demonstrable failures of the Victorian criminal justice system did nothing to help the efforts being made to address the trauma of institutional child sexual abuse.”

“It took all seven of the High Court judges to put things right. Hopefully lessons have been learnt by the police and the Victorian DPP so that complainants and those accused of child sexual abuse can be better served by the criminal justice system.

“The demonstrable failures of the Victorian criminal justice system did nothing to help the efforts being made to address the trauma of institutional child sexual abuse.

“As a society we need to do better, and the legal system needs to play its part. I hope my writing has contributed to more just outcomes, sparing complainants and accused persons unnecessary added trauma and hurt.”

Cardinal Pell. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

The Catholic Weekly also took home the best photo award for Giovanni Portelli’s stunning front-page image “Honouring Him, they come”, taken on Corpus Christi 2021 and published in the 13 June issue.

“Knowing that it was a night procession, I brought my high powered torch and picked a short volunteer who was walking behind the Blessed Sacrament,” Mr Portelli said.

“With clouds of smoke billowing from two thuribles, the light blazed through the Blessed Sacrament, casting three dimensional shadows of the Monstrance.

“With such an award I must thank Archbishop Julian Porteous for an inspiring conversation back in 2008 when he told me, ‘Evangelise Through Photography’.

“The organisers were astonished to see such powerful images, so much so that they were shared over and over on social media for weeks afterwards.

“With such an award I must thank Archbishop Julian Porteous for an inspiring conversation back in 2008 when he told me, ‘Evangelise Through Photography’.

“This is all part of that ongoing mission.”

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