A letter from prison attributed to Cardinal Pell has circulated on Twitter, immediately triggering an investigation by the authorities of the state of Victoria. The cardinal, awaiting sentence, risks another sanction. In the letter, other than talking about his situation, he sends a clear signal regarding the upcoming Synod on the Amazon.
While waiting for the appellate court to issue its conclusions on the examination of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction by a lower court, the authorities of the Australian State of Victoria have announced the opening of an investigation regarding a letter from the cardinal published on Twitter.
In recent days, two typed pages, signed by George Pell, have been published on an account active since March 2019. The letter was dated August 1 and was published the following night. Yesterday, a Justice Department spokesman said that prisoners are not allowed to spread messages on social media or to use the internet, nor can they ask third parties to spread messages on their behalf. “The Department will thoroughly investigate this social media activity,” and disciplinary action will follow if prison rules were violated.
The appeal was discussed at the beginning of June. The judges do not seem to have been in any hurry to express themselves; it is also true that this is the winter vacation period in Australia. In any case, it could also come from the awareness that the case will end up in a higher court both if the appeal is accepted and Pell is set free, or whether it is rejected. It is is not impossible that the magistrates decide that the first trial did not take place regularly and therefore ask for a new trial.
Now the first question is: was the letter written by Cardinal Pell? The Justice Department spokeswoman did not clarify this point, but everything suggests that it was. In the message, Pell thanked all his supporters for their prayers and said he was “upset” by what he learned about the preparation for the Amazon Synod. “The awareness that my small sufferings can be used for good purposes by joining those of Jesus,” Pell is supposed to have written, “gives me a sense [of purpose] and a direction.” And he adds: “The challenges the problems in the life of the Church should be faced in a similar spirit of faith.”
It is possible that a decision by the Court of Appeal is made known before the end of the month.
Speaking of current affairs in the Church, the incarcerated cardinal writes that “We have reasons to be upset by the Instrumentum Laboris of the Amazon Synod,” the document at the center of particularly heated and deep discussions and controversies. Not only concerning the possibility of ordaining married men – the viri probati – to replace priests in the most distant communities, but because of the Synod’s general orientation and the slide towards what critics believe is a kind of syncretistic pantheism. Many perplexities have also arisen over its thrust towards women’s ordination.
Pell is icastic and very direct, as is his character: “This is not the first low-quality document that the Synod Secretariat has produced,” he writes. In the 2014 Synod, Pell made strong statements against the lack of clarity and ambiguity of its terms, which gave rise to the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia. Pell says that concerning the Synod on the Amazon, “Cardinal Gerhrard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written an excellent critique.”
He adds: “One point is fundamental: the Apostolic Tradition, the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, taken from the New Testament and taught by the Popes and Councils, by the Magisterium, is the only doctrinal criterion for every doctrinal teaching and practice.” Known for his direct way facing questions and problems, Pell goes on to write, “Amazon or no Amazon the Church cannot allow any confusion, much less any teaching that damages the Apostolic Tradition.”
He concludes: “We must always remember that the Church is one, not only in the sense that good families remain united whatever their differences, but because the Church of Christ is based on the Catholic Church, which is the Body of Christ.”
Source: La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana
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