Tim Minchin V George Pell
Updated: Oct 11
Child Abuse Within the Catholic Church
And the winner is…
Here’s a story.
Once upon a time a young altar boy of 8, let’s just say in the early 1960s, is molested by a priest.
Traumatised, he goes home and tells his parents.
It takes courage.
They yell at him and belt him for lying.
He tells the truth and he gets punished.
Punished by the ones he loves.
To whom does that kid now turn?
Three of the most important people in his life, his parents and his priest, the ones expected to keep him safe and give him guidance, have let him down in the worst possible way.
And, when exposed, the Church tries to cover it up.
Well, not literally the Church, but people of power within the Church.
Their first thought is to protect the Church.
Protect the Church and God from, wait for it, the TRUTH.
Don’t worry about the child or the thousands like him whose lives have been irreparably damaged.
Forget about the children who will be abused in the future.
“We will fix this ourselves. No one can ever know.”
“We’ll move him to another town and tell him not to do it again.”
And then, when whispers of the truth started ripples of outrage, came this.
“We’ll splash a bit of money about to keep them quiet.”
Please explain to me the existence of Christianity within that scenario.
This is what Tim Minchin is asking in his song.
Have a listen.
Do ya get it now?!
This is why Tim Minchin wants Cardinal George Pell to come home.
He wants George Pell to look into the eyes of some of the victims and
then explain to them “why”.
Why he didn’t protect the children of the God he represents.
Why the Church’s reputation was a greater priority.
Why he can’t shed buckets of tears, break down and beg forgiveness?
Back to the story.
Now it’s hard to blame the parents for not believing the child – the child who has just told them he has been molested by his priest – as they too have been indoctrinated in the ways of their particular religion.
And, in their minds, at that time, there is no way a priest would ever do that.
The kid must be lying.
Therefore he must be punished.
Spare the rod, spoil the child.
And now try to imagine the heartache and pain of those parents when, many years down the track, they discover their little boy was telling the truth.
The truth being a representative of their Church, of their God, violated their little boy.
And when their little boy came to them for help, they didn’t believe him.
They punished him.
But they can be forgiven.
The Church has no excuse.
The Church knew.
It would appear George Pell has known for a long, long time.
And when asked to return to Australia from The Vatican to front a Royal Commission into Child Abuse, George Pell gets a note from his doctor saying he is too sick to take the flight.
George Pell will now give his evidence via video link.
So Tim Minchin wrote a song imploring Cardinal Pell to make the journey.
Independent of the song there has been a crowd-funding initiative to raise money to fly some of the victims to The Vatican to witness Cardinal Pell’s deposition.
Feel free to get invloved: https://www.gofundme.com/f/sendballarattorome
All royalties from the song will now go to that initiative.
There has been a lot of spit and kafooey that a mere entertainer could have the audacity to call Australia’s highest ranking Catholic official a “pompous buffoon” and “scum”.
But this is not a “mere entertainer” jumping on a bandwagon to increase his own popularity and cash in on the controversy.
This is a world-renowned lyricist, satirist and performer who wrote the score for the hugely successful musical Roald Dahl's Matilda.
And Tim Minchin has addressed paedophilia and several religion-related issues via a couple of other songs in the past.
The Pope Song and Thank You God for example.
There is language in these songs that many people may consider to be “from the gutter”.
But like “scum” and “pompous buffoon”, they’re only words.
And for a whole lot of people the words are warranted.
Let’s not shoot the messenger here.
How about we clear a bit of the forest and have a close look at the trees.
Paedophilia is a criminal offence.
An abhorrent criminal offence.
It now carries a maximum sentence of life in prison in NSW.
But the Church, fully aware of many of these offences, chose to deal with them in-house.
Shuffle the deck.
Move the offenders.
Don’t mention the war.
Don’t tell the cops.
And, from all reports, the bloke who orchestrated a fair bit of the shuffling, kept it on the QT and failed to inform the Boys In Blue was George Pell.
The Accountability Man now conveniently stuck in a No Fly Zone courtesy of apparent ill-health.
Has he not committed a criminal offence?
Has he not aided and abetted the paedophiles?
Paedophiles who in the real world would be, and now are, sent to jail.
Should he not be punished for being complicit in these crimes?
Is he not accountable?
Don’t the victims deserve the right to ask him “Why?”.
That, in hokey-pokey terms, is what the song is all about.
What’s your view?