Pastoral statement by Bishop Brian Mascord on Cardinal George Pell’s High Court appeal
April 7, 2020
Professional standards and safeguarding, Bishop Brian Mascord
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ
On Tuesday 7 April 2020, the High Court announced its decision regarding Cardinal George Pell’s appeal. The court has ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place. In a statement, the court said:
“Today, the High Court granted special leave to appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria and unanimously allowed the appeal. The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place.”
The last several years have been a time of deep distress, hurt and confusion for many. With that in mind, I encourage you to enter any conversations about this matter with an attitude of charity, to acknowledge the varied emotions people may be feeling, and to consider the powerful effect our words can have on others. It is also important that we respect the decision of the High Court of Australia and the legal process that has been made available to all involved in this matter.
I want to take this opportunity to reinforce the Diocese of Wollongong’s commitment to the safety and protection of all children and vulnerable adults. If you would like to speak to someone and access support, I encourage you to contact our diocesan Office of Professional Standards and Safeguarding on (02) 4222 2428 or via email at [email protected]. A range of external support options are also provided on our diocesan website.
Now is the time to come together, as sisters and brothers in Christ, to pray for healing and unity—in our Church and in our communities—as we strive to ensure our Catholic parishes, schools and agencies are places of compassion and safety for all. Please be assured of my deep and continuing commitment to this goal.
Yours in Christ
Most Rev Brian G Mascord DD
Bishop of Wollongong
7 April 2020
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.