Cardinal Müller: Cardinal Pell’s Conviction ‘Against All Reason and Justice’

Cardinal Gerhard Müller (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA)

Allegations that led to Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for sexual abuse are “absolutely unbelievable” and “without proof,” Cardinal Gerhard Müller has said.

The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also said the conviction is “absolutely against all reason and justice” and resembles an understanding of justice going back to the time of King Henry VIII.

“Like everyone else, I cannot see the culpability,” Cardinal Müller told the Register March 4.

A jury convicted Cardinal Pell in December of sexually assaulting two boys in the sacristy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.

The verdict was made public last month after the lifting of a media suppression order.

The Australian cardinal, who has vigorously protested his innocence and is appealing against the verdict, is currently being held in solitary confinement until sentencing on March 13.

As former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy from 2014 to 2019 and effectively the Vatican’s treasury minister, Cardinal Pell was the third most senior figure in the Vatican. He is the most senior Church figure to have ever been convicted for sexual abuse.

After a mistrial in September, the jury for the second trial was unanimous, despite the cardinal responding to the charges against him as a series of “deranged falsehoods,” and with the bulk of the evidence resting on just one plaintiff.

During a pre-sentence hearing, Judge Peter Kidd described the crime as “brazen, callous offending,” adding it was “shocking conduct against two boys,” and that Pell did it “in such brazen circumstances that he obviously felt some degree of impunity.”

But the cardinal’s supporters are incredulous that he could have committed such a crime, especially in such a public place. The abuse is said to have occurred on two occasions, in 1996 and 1997, not long after Pell had been appointed archbishop.

“Nobody witnessed it,” Cardinal Müller noted, and said that he could not believe it could happen with “all the other persons” probably present after Mass.

The German cardinal said the crime was “supposed to have taken place not in a private house, but in the public cathedral.”

“The allegations against him are absolutely unbelievable, it’s impossible. It’s without proof, against all evidence,” Cardinal Müller said.

“If there’s no proof, you cannot condemn a person to 50 years in a fortress,” he continued.

“It’s an understanding of justice that goes back to the time of Henry VIII,” and “shows a corruption of the juridical system in mainstream public opinion,” he said.

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35 Responses to Cardinal Müller: Cardinal Pell’s Conviction ‘Against All Reason and Justice’

  1. I wonder whether or not Cardinal Muller watched the video tapes of rather damaging accounts by several people of behaviors of Cardinal Pell that were on the internet when the accusations first became public.


  2. Mrs. Maureen Avila could you please explain more clearly which tapes would these be?


  3. Mary Salmond says:

    Yes. Let’s see the links to the tapes.
    I don’t know Cdl Pell, but find it hard to believe in such a public place. And the one who accused him has died but confessed he was never abused. Witch hunts abound.


  4. I apologise, I have been trying to find out if I can edit my original comment as I accidentally published it before I had finished. Above, I have asked: “Mrs. Maureen Avila could you please explain more clearly which tapes would these be?” I meant to then further ask: Is it the one in which he responded to the ludicrous allegation levelled by saying, scoffing if you like, he was well justified: “Oh, stop it,” Pell interjected. “What a load of absolute and disgraceful rubbish. Completely false. Madness.”


  5. t


  6. The comment I just sent is a new video I found about Cardinal Pell’s response to abuse complaints. It is not what I referred to in my previous comment about interviews of victims themselves and damaging witnesses to other complaints about Pell which are not necessarily directly related to this particular trial. I doubt that the videos I mentioned are still available. At the time I sent them to Pro-Pell people who thought Pell was just being lied about then. I do not know whether or not they took the trouble to watch them.


  7. CORRECTED LINK from newly found 2015 interview re Pell mentioned at 15:58 above.
    Again, this is not the interview of witnesses and victims I refer to in my original comment.Those I have not found and I suspect they were removed.


  8. jesterofthecourt says:

    All I see is a group of people with hatred for the Catholic Church and who are eager to blame a key Catholic figure. I have not seen any evidence.
    Of the two accusers in the recent trial, one later claimed he was NEVER abused. He died in 2014.
    The circumstances of the alleged abuse ignore the fact the cathedral was a busy place and the altar wine cabinet was LOCKED and an Archbishop is heavily robed.
    The accusations appear ridiculous considering the many people who were present and of good character and saw nothing.
    This is trial and conviction by extreme prejudice.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mary Salmond says:

    I quit watching CBS 60 minutes for over 20 years. Usually skewed information.


  10. John says:

    Mrs Avila I have no doubt that the videos are deleted. If you lie about someone in respect of things like that public ally you can face a defamation action. It might have seemed like fun at the time but someone would have warned them.


  11. Since I knew nothing other than the name, rank in the Church and face of Cardinal Pell, I watched several videos on the subject when the accusations first became a Catholic blog topic. I like to see and hear the actual victims and witnesses on video because we know from the Legionaries of Christ scandal that the most orthodox and high profile Catholics can get it wrong. Also some of the testimony to health care or other interviewers that I saw does not pertain directly to the case in which Cardinal Pell was recently convicted. We also do not know who was on the jury, or what was not allowed or even exactly what was allowed in court. I was not on the band wagon for Legionaries of Christ during that long dispute, although I knew they have some good priests; so, not being on the jury for Cardinal Pell, I must reserve judgment.


  12. JabbaPapa says:

    Off-topic, but it seems that Bishop Athanasius Schneider has had a response to one his own dubia :

    On the topic of my concern about the phrase used in the Abu Dhabi document – that God “wills” the diversity of religions – the Pope’s answer was very clear: he said that the diversity of religions is only the permissive will of God. He stressed this and told us: you can say this, too, that the diversity of religions is the permissive will of God.

    I tried to go more deeply into the question, at least by quoting the sentence as it reads in the document. The sentence says that as God wills the diversity of sexes, color, race and language, so God wills the diversity of religions. There is an evident comparison between the diversity of religions and the diversity of sexes.

    I mentioned this point to the Holy Father, and he acknowledged that, with this direct comparison, the sentence can be understood erroneously. I stressed in my response to him that the diversity of sexes is not the permissive will of God but is positively willed by God. And the Holy Father acknowledged this and agreed with me that the diversity of the sexes is not a matter of God’s permissive will.

    But when we mention both of these phrases in the same sentence, then the diversity of religions is interpreted as positively willed by God, like the diversity of sexes. The sentence therefore leads to doubt and erroneous interpretations, and so it was my desire, and my request that the Holy Father rectify this. But he said to us bishops: you can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God.


  13. kathleen says:

    @ Mrs Maureen Avila

    Cardinal Müller states it very clearly: the charges against Cardinal Pell are “impossible, without any evidence”, and therefore “absolutely unbelievable”.
    It has been a great injustice to imprison a man for fifty years on the flimsiest of accusations by one who, I have read, was “groomed by the gay lobby” to sink this fearless fighter of homosexual vice in the Church. The only one other accuser, who was with the first one in the Cathedral at the time of the supposed sexual abuse by ++Pell, admitted to his mother just before his death that HE HAD NEVER BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED. A dying man about to face his final judgement does not lie. (It is unfortunate his mother did not ask him about the other boy who was with him at the same time; the answer would most likely have freed Pell from this whole infamy and much suffering.)

    Re your videos… the fact that there were those that were removed – and that in a PC, pro-gay society that has had it in for ++Pell for years, “turning over every stone” to search for non-existent incriminating evidence against him – surely speaks for itself, doesn’t it? They were surely faked and couldn’t stand up to scrutiny. Certainly ++Pell is an imperfect human being, as we are each and every one of us, and he might well have forgotten he’d been shown a certain photo, been a bit impatient, etc., but none of that demonstrates that he was guilty of the filth for which they are trying to frame him.

    This recent article from 1Peter5, that includes some important reports on the case, is a real eye opener! And as the title describes: The Pell Fallout Continues, And it Has Implications for the Whole Church.


  14. @Kathleen
    I am not a lawyer, but is not the statement of the mother of the deceased what they call “hearsay” ?
    Also from speaking with an attorney who has successfully represented a clergy-abused minor, I was told that young boys repress sex abuse incidents more often than girls do, and are less likely to talk about them to adults at the time they happen. By ‘repress’ I mean the psychological defense mechanism which can operate unconsciously dismissing from conscious memory something which is too emotionally charged for the conscious mind to tackle. Repressed memories can cause depression and/or predispose a person to addictions and self-destructive behaviors, but can also re-surface in adulthood or in therapy.
    In listening to some clips of Cardinal Pell being interviewed, he mentioned 2, and possibly 3 changing rooms in the cathedral…one for Clergy , one for Bishops, and possibly one for alter servers, which I suppose would include the choir boys, unless he meant that the clergy changing room was also for altar boys and choir.
    Again, Pell might be innocent in this case, but considering all the reported problems with homosexual clergy in Australia over many years, anger directed at him is expected, and understandable. Cardinal Pell has experience with abuse cases and expert legal representation and I assume financial backing so probably he has a good chance of success on a retrial. I will not be on the jury.


  15. kathleen says:

    No, I do not believe the statement of the mother of the deceased boy was mere “hearsay” at all. With the storm of anger and hatred against Cdl. Pell in Oz right now, if this much-publicised statement on Catholic media were an untruth, you can bet anything we would have heard about it!

    Yes, it is a fact that young boys tend to repress sexual abuse much more than girls… which explains why so many tragic cases of proven clerical sexual abuse are not revealed and made public till many years later (e.g., the Mr McCarrick case) but I cannot see that this proves anything against ++Pell.


  16. @ Kathleen
    I was referring to the legal understanding of “hearsay”:

    the report of another person’s words by a witness, which is usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law.
    “everything they had told him would have been ruled out as hearsay”
    (from Wiki)

    My reference to repression refers to a possible interpretation of the dying adult male’s hearsay(in the legal sense) statement to his mother.


  17. kathleen says:

    the report of another person’s words by a witness, which is usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law.
    “everything they had told him would have been ruled out as hearsay”
    (from Wiki)

    Yes, I understand all that. “Hearsay” is something overheard by someone (not necessarily involved in the case). That’s what the prosecutors of ++Pell’s case were trying to make out.

    But this wasn’t mere “hearsay”, was it? It wasn’t just any old “other person’s words”. This was the dying boy’s mother who was the suffering “witness” of her son’s last words! Why would she lie? This is a Catholic family; the boy would have made his last Confession; he was about to come face to face with God. It is inconceivable that either he (facing imminent death), or his mother (who surely would not have spoken up for someone who might have harmed her son in such a vile way) could have lied about such a thing.

    Did you read the 1P5 link above? The whole debacle of Cdl. Pell’s trial and conviction has shocked the Catholic world. If they can get away with this farce, Heaven knows what is coming for us.


  18. JabbaPapa says:

    considering all the reported problems with homosexual clergy in Australia over many years, anger directed at him is expected, and understandable

    Not when he himself was at the origin of the Church Tribunals which ended up exposing much of it and leading to the defrocking of dozens of these molesters it isn’t …

    Liked by 1 person

  19. @Jabba Papa
    I do not know the statistics, but it seems from listening to a few videos, that not everyone who has a clergy complaint is giving the Church Tribunals rave reviews for various reasons among which are very low financial compensations and attorneys who are siding with the clergy rather than victims.


  20. JabbaPapa says:

    The statistics are about a 95% rate of convictions, leading to various sanctions, defrocking being by far the most common.

    Otherwise, no big surprises if various anti-Catholic zealots are deriding them.


  21. @Kathleen
    I pray for the outcome most pleasing to God in this Clergy Abuse case discussed here.
    Regarding the mother’s statement , aside from the possibility of her dying son telling her what she wanted to hear, or herself hearing what she wanted to hear, possible interpretations I referred to, there are possibilities
    of the dying man not recalling accurately traumatic events of his early life at the time of impending death, or feeling threatened for his mother or others among his family or friends.

    Again I pray for the outcome most pleasing to God, and most beneficial for souls for all concerned in this case, and for the Church. If Cardinal Pell appeal is not successful, and I think his chances are good, it is unlikely that he , now 77 years of age will live another 50 years, that is to the age of 127 to serve his full sentence. The average age of death for men in Australia is 82. As we know, some people are living into their 90’s but few live to 100. Even if this is totally a false accusation, the Cardinal would have a opportunity to perform redemptive suffering for the Church and for the souls in purgatory, whose suffering is reportedly greater than any on earth, and whose sentences can be to the end of time.
    Yes, Kathleen, I did read the 1Peter:5 article and I am a regular reader of Steve’s blog.


  22. mmvc says:

    Even if this is totally a false accusation, the Cardinal would have a opportunity to perform redemptive suffering for the Church and for the souls in purgatory, whose suffering is reportedly greater than any on earth, and whose sentences can be to the end of time.

    It’s not for us to speculate how Cardinal Pell could use his suffering. That’s a matter between him and the Lord. Our prayer and concern should be that he is treated fairly, that the truth will come to light and that he will have the strength to carry his heavy cross. Best to apply the principle of redemptive suffering to ourselves rather than to others in some strange attempt to find merit in “a totally false accusation”.


  23. @mmvc
    As I said,
    “Again I pray for the outcome most pleasing to God, and most beneficial for souls for all concerned in this case, and for the Church. If Cardinal Pell’s appeal is not successful, and I think his chances are good…… ”

    The ‘speculation’ of how Pell could use his suffering is Catholic teaching applicable to anyone who suffers injustice. No doubt there are other wrongly accused, or too severely sentenced people in prisons.


  24. I just looked in here and I see you’re playing their game as usual. You’ve lost it, folks. Cardinal Pell was set up for this, many years ago, and if you have no knowledge of it then just shut up, because you’re not helping him.


  25. @Gareth Thomas
    Do any of us insist that our comments be published?


  26. kathleen says:

    @ Gareth Thomas

    Re, the Cardinal Pell set up…
    Who, please tell us, is “playing their game”??
    Most certainly not me, nor mmvc, nor others who have commented here. You should read through all the comments before lashing out at us – and also the many other articles + comments we have published on CP&S – all defending this innocent man from a terrible injustice. In fact I have repeatedly said that it was clear to most of us that the notorious ‘gay lobby’ (and lavender mafia) has had it in for Cdl. Pell for a very long time, due to his courageous singlehanded fight to uncover their crimes.

    By the way, I was always told it was very rude to tell people to shut up! Everyone has a right to express their views, even if we disagree with them, just so long as they are polite and reasonable. And the one commenter here who has disagreed with us has been both those things.


  27. kathleen says:

    @ Mrs Maureen Avila at 13:56

    I’m afraid I find your sentence starting, “Regarding the mother’s statement…” hard to swallow. I very much doubt the dying boy would have lied to his mother. She wanted to know the truth; lying to her would have been a terrible cruelty.
    And as for him not “recalling” such a horrific thing as a sodomitical rape by such a prominent figure, we’ll, that is even harder to swallow!

    Yes, 1Peter5 is a very good source for truthful and well written Catholic information.


  28. johnhenrycn says:

    “… just shut up…”

    Hi, Gareth. I have shut up about ++Pell – nary a word by me about him in a week. And so as to not interrupt my personal pledge to speak no further about his trials: please permit me a little frisson of off topic venial schadenfreude as I spread some exciting gossip about Fr Thomas Rosica, the ardent homosexual advocate caught in one of those flagrante delicto thingamajigs – namely (in his case) serial plagiarism dating back many years:
    …and also this report in Church Militant, which I hardly ever visit anymore since they banned me for basically calling one of their commentators (since assigned to administrative duties) a twit:
    Mind you, who is without sin? I recall in my last undergraduate year hiring a ghostwriter (an alleged M.A.) to write an end-of-term essay for me about Hugo Grotius’s concept of private property or some such; but his product was so awful, I never used it.


  29. JabbaPapa says:

    @ Mrs, Maureen Avila at 13:56 on March 9

    aside from the possibility of her dying son telling her what she wanted to hear, or herself hearing what she wanted to hear, possible interpretations I referred to, there are possibilities

    That is uncharitable to an extreme — you seem to assume that habitual lying is some sort of “norm”.

    In the face of no evidence, to believe the worst is also a direct violation of the principle of the presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty.

    I hope that these impressions are themselves false, and that you are merely confused like so many others are in the face of these horrid allegations.


  30. JabbaPapa says:

    And fundamentally, I agree with Gareth — the attacks against Cardinal Pell have been non-stop for about 15 years or so.


  31. @ JohnHenryca
    I had a paper of mine copied, slightly revised with upgraded vocabulary and presented as original by another person when I was a student. This person had the guts to present it to an audience in which I was present and hand out copies of it. When I complained to his superior I was told that two people could have exactly the same idea and write the same paper. The presenter was known to my professor who would not speak to me when I contacted him to complain. I think it is fairly common for student’s work to be ‘ripped off’ .
    My consolation was that I was not in a position where anyone else beside my professor would have read my paper, which was good and about a spiritual topic, if this incident had not happened.


  32. johnhenrycn says:

    Jabbers @ 23:57 –
    With respect to your ongoing pilgrimage, and so as to not bother you, I’ve spent some minutes trying to discover on my own who you quote at 23:57; but cannot. If your pilgrimage allows you smartphone access (don’t own a smartphone myself) can you tell me and everyone else who you are replying to, possibly with a timestamp for their comment if you can?

    [A moderator has now added the name of the recipient and time stamp.]


  33. johnhenrycn says:



  34. Richard Mullins says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    You replied to Avila saying “The only one other accuser, who was with the first one in the Cathedral at the time of the supposed sexual abuse by ++Pell, admitted to his mother just before his death that HE HAD NEVER BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED”.
    Your account is inaccurate. (But you are only copying what you have seen written before, that you think is accurate). The man who died in 2014 was never an accuser. He was a junkie. According to reports, his mum asked him, presumably 10 years or more before he died, had he ever been sexually abused. He said no. His mum said she asked him on two occasions”.
    In commenting on this, the story has morphed into “before he died, he said so and so”, which is correct but misleading, because it prepares the way for the story to be changed to “he said on his deathbed that he had never been sexually abused by Pell”. which seems to be a mischievous lie, intended to claim the man who died as an accuser of Pell.
    Kind regards,
    Richard Mullins


  35. kathleen says:

    Thank you for your polite and measured reply. Courtesy of commentators is something greatly appreciated by us all here, for sometimes people who disagree with us, due to their invisibility in cyber discussions, take advantage and resort to insults and course, rude behaviour. (Mind you, they simply waste their time though, because their comments then rarely see the light of day!)

    So, onto the point you bring up. I believe the sources that were reporting those words I quoted were reliable ones (e.g., Quadrant), but as stories do indeed sometimes become “morphed” or embellished, let’s look at it another way. If you have inside information and what you say is accurate – that the boy who was with the accuser of Cardinal Pell confessed to never having been sexually abused, but not on his deathbed and at an earlier time – that hardly makes much difference in the long run, don’t you think? It could perhaps even add to the case for the defence that neither boy was abused, and thus to Cardinal Pell’s innocence!

    As a “junkie” dying from AIDS he must have been suffering greatly, perhaps even going in and out of consciousness at times, so speaking would have been hard for him. OTOH, if he had declared to his mother ten years earlier on two occasions whilst he was still relatively well that he’d never been sexually abused, never even withdrawing this affirmation when death loomed nearer for him, it could be seen as further evidence that he had his wits about him and he was telling the truth.

    Let’s go back to this one assumed incident for which the Cardinal was found guilty that took place after a High Mass in the cathedral… What did the boy do whilst his friend was supposedly being violently sexually abused by the heavily robed Cardinal (with the door wide open, remember?) and people milling around in the vicinity outside? Just stand there and watch, instead of running away and calling for help? Never making even a mention to anyone, ever, of the terrible thing that he’d witnessed happening to his friend?
    Impossible! The whole thing was clearly an evil set up that Pell’s many raging enemies in the LGBT lobby had planned for him.


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