This past week, Cardinal George Pell, who was the Vatican’s first prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and who was archbishop of Sydney, had his conviction for sexual offenses upheld by a court of appeals in Melbourne, Australia. The statement by Chief Justice Anne Ferguson read:
“By majority (2 to 1), the Court of Appeals has dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for the commission of sexual offences. He will continue to serve his sentence of 6 years’ imprisonment,” Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said in her opening remarks in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The Holy See’s press office’s official statement read as follows:
“As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.
“At this time, together with the Church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members of the clergy who commit such abuse.”
At this moment in church history, it is essential that we as a Catholic people pray for those whose lives have been harmed forever by the crime of sexual abuse, which Cardinal Pell has and continues to deny. It is essential that we pray for all victims of sexual abuse, especially those who have been harmed by any member of the clergy or by those who were working in a church-related apostolate.
It is also essential that we pray also for Cardinal Pell, that justice is done in this serious and tragic case and that the verdict has been justly and fairly reached.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, who succeeded Cardinal Pell and who’s a Dominican priest and a world-class theologian, commented upon hearing the verdict: “Reasonable people have taken different views when presented with the same evidence, and I urge everyone to maintain calm and civility.”
We should strive to do the same in this case, through the intercession of Our Lady, Help of Christians, the patroness of Australia.
Once again, Labor Day is upon us, marking the unofficial end of summer. By and large, summer vacations are over and people have gone back to work. Students and teachers return to school, and the business and the grind of daily life begin again.
We should recall the reason why we have a Labor Day — to celebrate the efforts of the American working man and woman. President Grover Cleveland signed this holiday into law in 1894. It was a time of discord and rioting, which saw union laborers pitted against troops sent by the federal government.
This Labor Day, we should take the time to thank God for the blessings of labor and as well as blessings on all laborers. Consider praying this oration, made through the intercession of St. Joseph the Worker:
“O God, the creator of all things, you framed the law of labor for the human race. Graciously grant, by the example and patronage of St. Joseph, that we may do the work you provide us and earn the reward you promise. Sustain us with your grace to live up to our duties in charity and justice. Amen.” (http://catholic.org)