George Pell has been re-homed now, Tim


As I said above, what you’ve highlighted was initially the case, but was dropped very soon after, and those who had signed up to such clauses were released from them. So the facts are that over 350 claims have been made under the Melbourne Response, 97% of them have been accepted, and not a single priest has thereby been protected from prosecution and no claim for compensation has been prevented by it.

The Ellis defence has not been maintained by the Catholic Church for about 5 years. I fully agree that it should never have been relied on.


That’s not really the issue.

There would not be an organisation on earth that would make an ex gratia payment to someone who they are having a legal dispute with without also getting an agreement from them not to sue. That’s how the world works. You identify a problem, you realise you’re in trouble, you make a payment to avoid any potential court proceedings. Very very common.

What’s not common, and what made that behaviour unethical in this case was these two things that they did:

  1. The payments were way way way waaaaay below par, or what would have been awarded by a court (this can actually have the effect of making the agreements unenforceable anyway); and

  2. The letters that the church sent firing that process were also subtly encouraging the victims not to go to the police. This can’t be a part of any deal - you can’t contract your way out of criminal liability. This was absolutely appalling conduct and I know about it first hand because I’ve seen some of the letters myself.


I have no idea who you are, but if I need a lawyer I’m hiring you. I reckon you’d be pretty good.


There is no coming back, as a human being from committing child sexual abuse.


I am, and that’s very nice of you. Thank you.

But stay out of trouble.


The Ellis defence is only now legally dead. Pell spoke of his personal opinion that the catholic church’s should be liable. It took a royal commission for him to disclose this opinion.

Other members of the church didn’t see it that way. The Ellis defence was never used after the original ruling because it didn’t have to be. No cases proceeded to trial because there was no one with sufficent assets to hold accountable.

How do you sue a dead priest? How do you sue father x when he has no assets?

I repeat, There in nothing to defend here.

There was institutional child rape on a sickening scale. It was covered up where possible, which lead to more and more child rape. Where it was not possible to cover it up, survivors (the ones who haven’t killed themselves) have had no reasonable chance of success to use legal action against the church until now.

Has there been a single priest who has taken responsibility?

The Catholic Church did all this. They own it and all it’s repercussions.

Yes other institutions and individuals did it as well, that doesn’t make it any better.


It sure reads as a smooth process for the victims.


There are several problems with this.

  1. He’s a child molester. So any good deeds get discounted. A lot. And any intentions get doubted, significantly.
  2. Nobody knows the real reasons Pell pushed those changes, and most of them could have had a pretty dark side. If he was just ahead of the game and realised the best way for the Church to control the story and minimise payments (and publicity) that would explain his stances as well. It would also tie in with the allegations he moved priests around to protect them/the church.
  3. Overall, the church, and not the victims, did very very well out of Pell’s responses.

Fundamentally, to use these as defences of his character relies on assumptions about his intentions, which circles us back to (1) above, which as a child molester, why the hell would we give him any benefit of the doubt?

It might be different if the Church hadn’t benefited enormously from what he did, but they did.


You don’t have read the DaVinci Code to come up with some ulterior motives for a man who is now convicted of child sex offences drawing up an extra-judicial procedure for dealing with child sex offences.


Can’t even imagine what it must be like, or the type of person you’d have to be, to be a fkn Pell apologist.



Defence lawyer, methinks. (So, not a person :stuck_out_tongue:)
@Shelton10 ?


No. Not a criminal lawyer at all. I practised in commercial law: people fighting about money.


Right that makes it even weirder.


You’re entitled to put that take on it if you like.


Will they have any priest left who haven’t been involved?


You do seem to continue to defend Pell, even after a conviction.

And MR Shelton my Lawyer works with me to ensure people do not fight about money.


I don’t defend him against what he’s been convicted of.

And 90% of the time my advice to clients was to settle their dispute.


Perhaps much better to have a contract/agreement which is fair and reasonable to both Parties.


As a lawyer you are being paid to attempt to achieve a certain outcome. You can suggest whatever you like, but in the end it’s the client’s choice.


The Catholic church in the US is making some moves, but the channels of communication with the Pope, are not that clear. Two different proposals are in the works. Their differences need to be sorted out, but it looks like it will still take a while.