Marie-Therese Wilson, Black Rock
How were we taught such medieval nonsense?
When will our trusting but misguided Catholic parents, such as my own lovely mum and dad, take responsibility for not only forcing the nonsense of Catholicism – three persons in one god, limbo, papal infallibility, original sin, guilt, etc – on their children when the facts have emerged that they also exposed them to the worst danger in their young and innocent lives? Where does the guilt end?
Geoff Townsend, Yarra Glen
Child abuse has been revealed across the community
While we condemn the Catholic Church for its hypocrisy and abuse of power, let us also remember the many other institutions that have failed children’s trust in adults.
Kevan Porter, Alphington
Abusing the young while laying down the law
What an ignominious farce. Repressed, «celibate» old men dishing out a doctrine of power. No contraception, no abortion, no sex outside marriage. An interpretation of an ancient script to keep the masses in fear of hell. Unconscionable.
Sue Allen, Campbells Creek
Churches, not Satan, are the ‘ultimate perps’
Clergy who have abused children are themselves victims of religious cultures that made desire and sex, especially with women, dirty and shameful. Particularly susceptible kids were crafted and shaped by the churches, and the churches are to blame for the monsters they created. They learnt to love as they were loved. It is not the devil at work here, a predictable thing for the Pope to say because the devil cannot be sued. The churches are the ultimate perps. They will not drop celibacy, misogyny and patriarchal power structures, or discard the obscene wealth, or do what they should do, which is to encourage us to simply love one another.
Anne Cooper, Stanmore
First Lindy Chamberlain, now George Pell
I can recognise a lynch mob mentality. Doctrinaire secularist paranoia can be just as toxic as religious hysteria, as witness the ongoing persecution of millions of Muslims, Christians and other believers under communism. The last high-profile case of it in Australia saw the imprisonment of Lindy Chamberlain, and we all know the eventual outcome of that story.
Bill James, Frankston
A sanctioned outlet to abuse children
Although enforced celibacy is unnatural and, frankly, weird, it is not entirely to blame for the issues of the Catholic Church. The priesthood provided an opaque destination for men to abuse children. They did not do this because they did not have a wife or partner. They did so because they were deviant and the complicit church gave them a sanctioned outlet to do so.
Cate Ross, Sandringham
The anti-Pell brigade
George Pell is not an attractive media personality, nor is he communicative. He has been relentlessly pursued for years by a powerful anti-religious media and secular lobby groups. He is an easy scapegoat to be pilloried for the sins of the Catholic Church.
In light of the facts regarding the cathedral’s protocols and accessibility to rooms, the jury’s guilty verdict beggars belief. Can those jury members declare they were uninfluenced by the constant news barrage over the past decade?
Margaret Gibson, Ferny Creek
Call for trial by judge
What the Pell verdict shows is that Attorney-General Jill Hennessy’s call for the option of a trial by judges, rather than jury, needs to be adopted as an alternative in Victoria, in line with other states. With prominent people involved, there is little chance of an uncorrupted jury in modern Australia, with mainstream and social media a constant factor.
According to the ABC TV news report, the jury was not swayed by the testimony of other witnesses that Pell’s alleged offence could not have occurred, and convicted him on the word of the single complainant. While Pell’s scalp is prized by survivors of clerical sex abuse, it is to be hoped that justice is still done in Victoria.
John Morrissey, Hawthorn
Harsh reality of sex abuse
To those who are in disbelief regarding George Pell’s conviction, wake up. According to the National Centre for Victims of Crime, one in five girls and one in 20 boys are sexually abused. These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg because most abuse is unreported, largely because of the fear of not being believed or the trauma of undergoing a trial.
Indeed, 61per cent of child sexual abuse survivors told the royal commission that they were abused in a Catholic institution.
Was the predominant reason the Vatican recently convened an (ineffectual) conference on clerical sex abuse the knowledge that Pell’s guilt was about to be exposed?
Catherine Boal, Waldara
Listen to victims’ stories
Respected priest and lawyer Frank Brennan highlighted the «improbabilities» associated with this verdict based on church routines, placing doubt on the guilty verdict (7.30, 26/2).
However, he did not mention the probabilities of the case. Why would complainants (one deceased) and witnesses fabricate these events, subjecting themselves to further suffering and a harrowing legal process, including hours of cross-examination? The people have spoken.
Peter McIntosh, Ballarat
Our two very different PMs
To think that Tony Abbott, while prime minister, sought guidance from George Pell. Thank goodness we had a prime minister with substance in Julia Gillard, who established a royal commission into child sexual abuse and set this outcome in motion.
Margot Morrison, Thornton
A very dubious ‘response’
It is chilling to think that George Pell set up the Melbourne Response to child sexual assault victims in October 1996. He has now been convicted of very serious child sexual abuse offences that occurred in December 1996. Is it any wonder that people such as Chrissie Foster had such a shocking response from him with the so-called Melbourne Response? The fox set himself up to mind the hen house. That particular house definitely needs to be torn down.
Cathy Humphreys, professor of social work, University of Melbourne
The lord and saviour
An entire day talking about the Catholic Church and hardly a mention of Jesus Christ and his simple message from more than 2000 years ago.
Peter Elliot, Hawthorn
Follow St Peter’s lead
The majority of clerics identified as offenders have been associated with the western Roman arm of the Catholic Church. The eastern Orthodox churches, and all Protestant denominations, allow their ordained ministers to marry and have children.
While there is a certain nobility ingrained with mandatory abstinence for the sake of serving Christ, the requirement is incongruous with the fact that St Peter – traditionally considered the first pope – was, along with Jesus’ own brothers, married.
Requisite celibacy can put up a wall of temptation, which might not exist if Catholic priests were able to enjoy what their apostolic forebears did. Pope Francis may well decry this social scourge as the work of the devil, but this may end up being a convenient way of deflecting the impetus for necessary theological and institutional introspection.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
Return to church’s roots
The Greek word for church is ekklisia – an assembly or gathering. Therefore, in orthodox theology, the church is not a building, organisation or clergy. At some point in time, this original meaning has been obscured. We now think of the church as something else and, for this reason, it is understandable why Catholics are turning their backs on an organisation that has enabled the abuse of children.
Perhaps this is an opportunity for a gathering. A chance for the faithful to seize back control of their church from the hands of corrupt clerics and rigid dogma and transform it into an organisation that actually supports and serves its people.
Orania Theoharidis, East Melbourne
Identify and punish trolls
I disagree with Greg Baum’s notion that a «do nothing» approach to social media trolls is the best way forward (Sport, 26/2). This will only allow the abuse to become more frequent and vitriolic as the trollers strive to achieve the notoriety they crave.
The best place for these people is jail, and for that to happen they need to be caught. Our laws need to make it mandatory for all social media websites and services to be able to identify their users. The fear of being caught is what prevents crime, not turning away and ignoring it.
John Bone, Mornington
Issue with off-leash dogs
I agree with Lucy Battersby’s article «Owners need dog obedience training» (Comment, 27/2). I walk the dogs on leashes through parks. However, I have to contend with dogs that are off-leash running up to my dogs, which in the main are bigger. Then, when my dogs defend themselves and me from the attacking dog, I am accused of having «vicious» dogs.
It is mandatory for people to take a test before they can get a driver’s licence. Why isn’t it the same when it comes to owning dogs?
Dave Ray, Reservoir
Not everyone loves dogs
I remember the days, more than 20years ago now, when I lived in Prahran and many owners walked their dogs in Victoria Gardens, all off-leash. The vast majority were responsible people with well-trained, non-aggressive dogs. They also picked up after their dogs and kept the park clean.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of «designer dogs» has resulted in an equal proliferation of ignorant, irresponsible owners who do not acknowledge that not everyone loves their precious mutt. I would like to see obedience training for dogs and owners as a prerequisite for obtaining dog registration.
As for me, I have a beautiful standard poodle who loves nearly every person and dog he encounters. However, I do not allow him to rush up to people willy-nilly as I know some are afraid of dogs or just do not like them.
Heather Butler, Bairnsdale
Act on the big polluters
Re Nicola Philp’s article (Comment, 25/2), undeniably our everyday actions affect the environment around us. Yet consider the 2017 CDP Carbon Majors Report, which showed just 100 companies were responsible for 70.6per cent of global emissions. Considerable responsibility for global warming rests with those corporations and governments.
We should avoid the neoliberal compulsion to attribute blame to individuals. And instead of worrying about reusable coffee cups and buying food in bulk, those who care about the environment should focus their energy on changing the policies of those corporations and governments.
Rafael Ungar, Elwood
Sun, wind and water
I fully support Snowy 2.0 as proposed by Malcolm Turnbull. However, it requires energy supplied by solar panels or wind turbines to generate the cheap electric power for the pumps to get the water back up. In other words, if the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow, Snowy 2.0 will not succeed.
Kjell Johansson, Hawthorn
Students well informed
Jill Dumsday says «school curricula could well copy this ‘softly softly’ approach [of Channel Seven’s Melbourne weather presenter Jane Bunn and the ABC’s Paul Higgins] by including climate education across the board» (Letters, 26/2).
Schools have been discussing both the greenhouse effect and global warming with students for many years. With so much factual evidence available, and their interest and concern for their world, many young people have an excellent grasp of the issue.
Perhaps this helps to account for the community’s rapid uptake of solar power, despite the tardy response of politicians to the urgent need for alternative sources of energy.
Margot Milne, Geelong West
Extensive advice, on rorts
People who receive refunds of income tax that they did not pay are partially self-funded, just as people who receive part-pensions supplemented by their own superannuation savings are. If they are not happy with the policy, they should talk to the people who advised them how to capitalise on what has turned into an expensive rort.
John Weston, Melton South
I can’t take much more
Scott Morrison, please call the election soon. I am already over the campaigning.
Sue Walden, Rokeby
AND ANOTHER THING
Survivors, hold your heads high. It wasn’t your fault.
Lorna Jensen, Eastwood
It might be good for both men if the Pope heard Pell’s confession.
Peter Dodds, Montmorency
I’m planning a pilgrimage. Is the Vatican taking pilgrims’ bookings for Pell’s empty apartments.
Bev Touzel, Carlton North
If God really does communicate with the Pope, why didn’t he warn him about Pell?
Tony Harris, Ocean Grove
Is there a place in hell for cardinals?
Carol Reed, Newport
George Pell, Australia’s Alfred Dreyfus?
Leslie Hunter, Geelong
How the mighty fall.
Meg McPherson, Brighton
The blame game is rife in the Vatican where, according to the Pope, Satan resides, comfortably protected.
Ken Betts, Seddon
«The devil made me do it» was popularised by comedian Flip Wilson. Not funny this time round.
Phil Mackenzie, Eaglemont
The result of breaking the 11th commandment: Thou shalt not get caught.
Des Crowle, Casterton
Hell’s bells, Pell.
Phil Labrum, Flemington
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Rosemary Sceats, Macleod
Jesus has left the building.
Gerry Danckert, Torquay
Is shutting down rail lines from April1 Dan’s idea of an April Fools’ Day joke?
Annette Bando, St Kilda East
I hope the technology to allow late-running trams to sail through intersections is hacker-proof.
Ken Mack, Blackburn
We will see AFLM and AFLW (26/2) only when gender equality exists. And that’s a long way off.
Nadia Wright, Middle Park
The women’s AFL should be WAFL.
Jennie Owen, Castlemaine
*Sign up to editor Alex Lavelle’s exclusive weekly newsletter at: www.theage.com.au/editornote.