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The Cardinal Pell Lynch Mob

This is the cover of a recent issue of the student newspaper at the University of Sydney. It features Cardinal George Pell, the primate of Australia, who was recently convicted of sexually abusing children in the past. The Pell case has been condemned by many — not just conservative Catholics — as a travesty of justice, and has even been compared (by a Pell friend) to the infamous Dreyfus Case. 

I have not written much about the Pell verdict because I haven’t done a deep dive into the facts surrounding his trial. What I do know about it makes me think that Pell was railroaded. But I can’t say that for sure without studying more about the trial.

What I do know is this: a left-wing student newspaper at one of Australia’s leading universities has posted an image of the cardinal swinging from a gibbet, his body shredded, presumably by the gathered crowd. The image is horrifying. I find no plausible way to interpret the image except as an incitement to lynching. Fortunately, I guess, Pell is now in prison, in a cell next to a notorious murderer. But what if he is released? What if his conviction is overturned on appeal? Is this the kind of barbarism that passes for enlightened progressive opinion in Australia?

What is it like to be a Catholic in Australia these days? Tell me, Australian Catholic readers.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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