NEW YORK, July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The president of the Catholic League says that not even Vatican Cardinal George Pell knows the details of the charges brought against him in Australia.
“In the United States, it would be unheard of for someone to be summoned to court to face a judge without knowing what the charges are and who the accusers are. But not in Australia,” wrote Bill Donohue.
“Cardinal George Pell was summoned to travel from Rome to Melbourne to appear in court today. He did. The proceedings, which were nothing more than a filing, lasted six minutes. Pell said nothing. Moreover, his lawyer did not enter a plea. That's because the mystery continues — Pell has not been told what he is being charged with or who his accusers are. All we learned is that he must appear again on October 6.”
Donohue once again took aim at media coverage of the charges against Pell:
“The media sported their real colors again today. The New York Times posted a web story saying, “The case will test the credibility of Francis' efforts to foster greater accountability after abuse scandals have shaken the church around the world.” Similarly, the Associated Press said, “For Francis, they are a threat to his credibility, given he famously promised a 'zero tolerance' policy for sex abuse in the church.”
But Donohue points out that this is clearly ridiculous:
“Cardinal Pell has never been convicted of covering up or abusing anyone, yet unspecified accusations made by anonymous accusers are enough to test the credibility of his boss for not holding him accountable? Accountable for what?
“Zero tolerance” is known as the “one-strike-and-you're-out” rule. There are no strikes — no convictions — against Cardinal Pell. Therefore, it is a moot issue. To say that the pope's credibility is on the line is to suggest that he should act now to discipline a man who is presumed innocent. The contempt for civil liberties could not be more clear.”
Although Pell’s defense team must be presented with evidence by September 8, it is expected that the prosecution will have them ready by next week. Accused of historic sex offenses, Cardinal Pell has repeatedly declared his innocence.