Cardinal George Pell visits the Goulburn Police station to make a complaint about media following him while driving from Melbourne to Sydney. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian.
Cardinal George Pell visits the Goulburn Police station to make a complaint about media following him while driving from Melbourne to Sydney. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian.

Pell: ‘Why did this happen to me?’

Cardinal George Pell has delivered an Easter message while asking why he suffered going to jail for a crime he didn't commit.

Penning a piece for The Australian after being released from jail this week, Cardinal Pell wrote about the sexual abuse crisis and said Easter provided the Christian answer to suffering and living.

On Tuesday the High Court ordered Cardinal Pell's child sexual abuse convictions to be quashed after considering his final appeal bid.

The most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse then released a statement saying he felt as though the "serious injustice" he suffered while maintaining his innocence had been "remedied".

The full bench of seven judges were unanimous in their decision, finding that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a reasonable doubt as to Pell's guilt.

"Every person suffers. None escapes all the time," Cardinal Pell wrote for The Australian.

"Everyone is confronted with a couple of questions. What should I do in this situation? Why is there so much evil and suffering? And why did this happen to me?"

 

Cardinal George Pell visits the Goulburn Police station to make a complaint about media following him while driving from Melbourne to Sydney. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian.
Cardinal George Pell visits the Goulburn Police station to make a complaint about media following him while driving from Melbourne to Sydney. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian.

 

Cardinal Pell said Jesus did not have an easy run either and suffered more than his share.

"I have just spent 13 months in jail for a crime I didn't commit, one disappointment after another," he said.

"I knew God was with me, but I didn't know what He was up to, although I realised He has left all of us free.

"But with every blow it was a consolation to know I could offer it to God for some good purpose like turning the mass of suffering into spiritual energy."

Cardinal Pell, who was accused of assaulting two choirboys at a Melbourne Cathedral in the 1990s, wrote that the sexual abuse crisis damaged thousands of victims.

But he said it was good the Catholic Church had painfully cut out a moral cancer.

He also spoke about the coronavirus pandemic as being a unique moment for people of his generation and younger.

While the virus could be compared to the Spanish flu pandemic of the Black Death, we have capacity now to fight the infection intelligently and mitigate its spread, he said.

Cardinal Pell, 78, was convicted in December 2018 of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting his friend after a Sunday Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.

He has maintained his innocence since being confronted with the allegations by Victoria Police in Rome four years ago, but a jury of 12 and Victoria's Court of Appeal ruled otherwise.

Cardinal Pell's lawyers had argued the jury was wrong and the appeal court majority made a mistake.

Originally published as Pell: 'Why did this happen to me?'



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