Phil Lawler: The preposterous case against Cardinal Pell (Feb 27, 2019)
Mr. Lawler is a schismatic who has rejected the authority of Pope Francis, calling him a “Lost Shepherd” who is “misleading his flock”. He has also rejected the authority of the body of Bishops, saying: “Corrupt and Cowardly Bishops Betrayed Christ, His Church, and the Faithful”. Those quotes are from the titles of two books by Lawler.
Lawler claims it is unlikely two choir boys could slip away from the group. Has Phil never met a child in his life? That is the modus operandi of all boys that age, slipping away and getting into mischief. In this case, drinking altar wine.
Lawler claims: “He said it was red wine. But the only altar wine in use was white.” Well, maybe the white wine was in a dark colored bottle. They were drinking from the bottle. The boy may have been mistaken about the color of the wine, or he may have misremembered. Getting details wrong in old memories is very common. It is ridiculous to respond to a mistake in a memory from 20 plus years earlier, the memory of a then-13 year old boy as if to say, “Ah-ha! You said red wine, but it was really white wine! Liar!”
Lawler says: “But the cardinal was invariably outside the cathedral after ceremonies, greeting the congregation. When he did return to the sacristy, he was always—always—accompanied by other priests.” Wow, what a lie. I’m a life-long Catholic, and I’ve been to innumerable Masses. The word “always” does not apply to how priests and even bishops say Mass. A priest might usually be at the doors of the Church, to greet people as they leave, but only usually. And the idea that the bishop was “always — always” with other priests is absurd. Does he never leave to use the bathroom? Does he never step aside for a private conversation with a member of his flock? Does he never step away to use the phone? He was “always” with other priests? Not believable.
You know what is believable? A bishop hears a noise in the sacristy, so he steps away from everyone else to see what is going on. He finds himself alone with two boys, and with some advantage over them as they have been caught doing something wrong. So he abuses them. Read these other allegations against Pell. It all fits.
Then Lawler offers this absurd defense: “He claimed that the cardinal parted his vestments and molested them. But the vestments that the cardinal wore did not allow for the movement the alleged victim described.” Was the bishop (he was not a Cardinal at the time) wearing a chastity belt? How do Bishops use the bathroom? The idea that his garments would not allow sexual abuse is ridiculous.
Why is Phil Lawler defending a convicted child molester? Is it really so hard to imagine that a person with conservative views could commit grave sins? Is the confessional only for liberals? This reminds me of liberals defending Bill Clinton, despite his grave transgressions with women. It reminds me of conservatives defending Donald Trump, despite his grave transgressions with women.
But Catholicism is not a political party; it is the path of salvation. It is the way of Jesus Christ. And if you can’t condemn someone for abusing children, because he has the same views on controversial topics in religion as you hold, then you are not following Jesus Christ at all.
Lawler is a schismatic, who is automatically excommunicated for the sin of public formal schism. He also should be denied Communion based on Canon 915, as he is obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin by his public attacks on the Pope. But defending a convicted child molester is a severe abandonment of the moral teachings of Christ. Jesus did not defend the conservative Pharisees, and only criticize the liberal Sadducees; nor vice versa.
— Ronald L. Conte Jr.