• Reflections

    Comment on the Acquittal of Cardinal George Pell – 7 April 2020

    Cardinal Pell’s arrest, trial, conviction, imprisonment and, now, ultimate acquittal by the High Court of Australia on Tuesday 7 April have represented a most significant succession of events – both in the history of the Catholic Church in Australia, in our society more generally, and specifically in Australian – and Victorian – judicial conduct. This journey has clearly come at immense personal cost to those involved:  to the one who brought the complaint against the Cardinal in the first instance, and, undeniably, to Cardinal Pell himself. Australia prides itself in its independent, objective, and transparent judiciary. The forensic process of judicial appeal that has now concluded provides us with the…

  • Reflections

    What might the Church of the future look like where young people have a voice? – Notes for the Panel Keynote for the 2019 BENet Conference, Glebe

    I can only answer the question from my limited context: Australian, Western, male – informed by my Cistercian background but also by my own current role of leadership for a diocese. I cannot speak for every context. For my reflections I draw principally from Christus Vivit– the recent Apostolic Exhortation to the Youth of the World by Pope Francis, and a 2017 presentation by a young woman of our Diocese of Broken Bay, Ashleigh Green, an appointed observer at the Synod on Youth that is the precedent to Christus Vivit.[1] If we wish to answer the question I recommend a careful reading of the Exhortation – it really presents as a portrait of…

  • Reflections

    On the Outcome of Cardinal Pell’s Appeal – A Letter to the People of Broken Bay Diocese

    Thursday 22 August 2019 My dear brothers and sisters, The dismissal by the Victorian Court of Appeals on 21 August of Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction of 11 December 2018, for child sexual abuse, and his subsequent sentencing on 13 March 2019, will be met with many diverse reactions, especially amongst our Catholic community.  These events represent a most significant development in the history of the Catholic Church in Australia and for the practice of Australian law more generally.   Most especially they bring us to a new chapter in the most regrettable and shameful history of sexual abuse within our community of faith, in which the full implications are even…

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