Cardinal Pell to Face Trial by Fr John McKinnon

Posted by on May 3, 2018 in News & Events | Comments Off on Cardinal Pell to Face Trial by Fr John McKinnon

Cardinal Pell to Face Trial by Fr John McKinnon
Cardinal Pell to Face Trial by Fr John McKinnon

We learnt during the week that Cardinal Pell will face trial for a number of alleged “Historical Cases” of Sexual Abuse of Minors. For many of us Catholics, perhaps especially in this diocese of Ballarat, we feel an inevitable emotional involvement in the case. It challenges so much of what we have previously taken for granted.


It is hard not to take sides spontaneously. This seems to be true, not only for us Catholics, but for many of the population at large. It is important to allow the course of justice to follow its procedures and take all the time it needs to establish the Cardinal’s innocence or guilt. Waiting is difficult, and we have no alternative. We simply do not know the truth or otherwise of the allegations, despite all our hopes or our fears.

Let us pray that justice will be done, and be seen to be done – sufficiently clearly to satisfy any reasonable person. And let our prayer to God be heartfelt, trusting and persistent.

Looking for God in Distressful Situations

In the meantime, it may help to keep a number of truths in mind. The “Church” is not simply the hierarchy, or the institution. It is all of us. We don’t say this as some form of self-defence. We are all equally members of the living Body of Christ. The Church as institution is there to help and support us in our mission to bring the truth and love of God to our world. It is sad that, when people refer to the “Church”, in most cases they are referring to the bishops and clergy. Often we Catholics can even think and talk that way, forgetting our own precious baptismal dignity and unique place in the community. We cannot allow “some”, whoever those “some” are, to “steal” the Church from us – we all belong equally, whatever our respective roles, minor or major.

The point was made during the Royal Commission hearing that some members of the Church seemed to feel themselves “above” general accountability to the State and its legal structures. Though it seems humiliating to many of us in the Church, it is a sign of a healthy community that even a top official in the Church hierarchy, rightly or wrongly, is now not above being called to account by otherwise powerless and wounded citizens. Please God, this ownership of general accountability of people in positions of power and authority in the Church will in time be taken for granted.

Let us pray

I repeat the comment that I made above: Let us pray that justice be done in the trial of Cardinal Pell, and that it will clearly be seen to be done. And may our prayer to our God be heartfelt, trusting and persistent.

Fr John McKinnon

On behalf of St Mary’s Parish Team, Hamilton