Alan Jones defends George Pell

Alan Jones has drawn the ire of both church abuse survivors and the public after defending Cardinal George Pell on

Alan Jones has drawn the ire of both church abuse survivors and the public after defending Cardinal George Pell on Q&A on Monday night.

The radio presenter was responding to an audience member who suggested that Pell should be removed from his position for his lack of sympathy and inaction when it came to abuse within the church.

At first, Jones said the abuse that happened to children in the church’s care was “almost too grotesque to even define” and agreed that Pell’s handling of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was “appalling”.

However, he went on to excuse the young Cardinal’s behaviour, saying he was only 28 at the time and should be cut some slack due to his young age.

“I think there has been a fairly unfortunate focus on Pell in the sense that he was 28 years of age in 1969 when all this happened.

“And there is a presumption in the way in which this has happened that then Pell was the Cardinal and should have done something,” Jones said.

“I hope they don’t ask us what we were doing at 28 years of age. I can’t even remember what I did last Monday,” he said, prompting a harsh response from fellow panelist, media commentator Josh Zepps.

“Well, we weren’t covering up rapists,” Zepps said.

“It’s so disingenuous to imply that the structures, the power structures in the church are just sort of accidental and don’t serve the people who are in power,” Zepps said.

“I tell you what, if there is a higher court, which the church seems to believe in, you would imagine Cardinal Pell is going to have his day.”

Federal government frontbencher Michaelia Cash, who was also on the panel, was quick to remind Jones about the facts of the case.

“I think despite what you’ve said, Alan, about he was only 28 at the time, what we’ve all seen over the last few weeks, over the last few years … was that complete lack of empathy”.

What do you think about Alan Jone’s comments? Do you think young age is an excuse for Cardinal Pell?

  1. Fran Gray  

    It is how he handled things since he was 28 that is inexcusable.

    • P Simpson  

      I agree with Fran, back in he 1960’s sexual abuse was not talked about, hell, you really didn’t discuss sex back then, but to think that Pell was on his own, well that is just wrong, he had his senior clergy to go to with allegations of this nature. The parents/guardians probably didn’t know, or were too shamed to talk about this in public, or they may have spoken to their own priest, or another priest in their parish, but were unable to take it further, as they were probably offered absolution. The rules have certainly changed since then, I know. In the film Spotlight, I was brought to tears when one of the abuse victims said, “How do you say No to God”. We lived in a sad world back then. Think Domestic violence too!

      • Dian Pond  

        Whilst I abhor what’s happened, I offer the following in defence of George Pell. They lived a cloistered life of celibacy.. Things like sex, promiscuity, gays, divorce, etc that are openly and commonly discussed today were more or less taboo back then. I think the clergy, nuns and brothers were naive of sex and sexuality. The majority would have had no concept or comprehension and would have been in denial. The offenders would have been a few rogue rats who figured it out!

  2. Alan Marshall  

    The world was a far different place back then and I’m sure he regrets not doing anything at the time. The Catholic church has a man at the top who would have been telling him and others what to do about it. I am not Catholic but have read some horror stories about the church and the way has been run over the many hundreds of years. They have been brutal at times. The buck should not stop with George Pell. All this happened because the parents and guardians let it happen, even though there were many people coming forward with stories. You cant keep dragging these things up looking to lay blame. Why you only have to look at Irlands orffanages and the dead babies found after the places were torn down.

    • Raymond Harvey  

      Very true Alan. It was another time, another place. Things have changed for the better now and time to move on.

  3. I do agree with Alan Marshall….citing how all this abuse happened because the parents and guardians allowed it to happen.
    This church was held in such high regard that the parents gave over to the priests and nuns their own personal power as parents and first primary carers.. thus .enabling these church pedophiles to abuse their children while never been held accountable for their criminal and depraved activity… the parents were beguiled into the belief that these priests were instruments of God therefore holy….these are the dangers of brainwashing….and this brainwashing the masses still continue on today in any religion, which is most, that indoctrinates and teaches that God speaks to the followers through the church leaders. So what were the parents doing when all this was going on?….Heads in the sandbox…I suspect…probably victims themselves as children..

    • Wal Remington  

      Ramari your words are so true. I was sexually assaulted when I was twelve by a Marist Brother while at a Marist Brother Juniorate. When I returned home for the Christmas break I told my mum (devout Catholic) and her answer to me was ” Don’t lie, Brother D….. is a christian person and you have sinned by telling me these lies.It took me many years to finally get my head around being called a liar but eventually I did. I don’t blame my Mum as she was a believer.

  4. Vic Roby  

    Hmmmm. Alan Jones defending George Pell…..not surprising really when one remembers 1988, when Alan Jones was arrested in an underground public toilet in London. He was charged with ‘outraging public decency’ and ‘committing an indecent act’.
    So…even though there has been quite a passage of time since then (and who knows what he HASN’T been caught doing)…a leopard never changes its spots…so they say…

    • Mike McKay  

      The interview where Chopper Reid phoned in is Australian media history. As Alan would say, Alan Jones and George pell should be put in a hessian bag and thrown in the ocean. They share values of a bygone age.

  5. Michelle  

    The singling out of George Pell is as disgraceful as the rabble who screamed “crucify him, crucify him”. Unabashed ignorance of definitive and no nonsense work in getting rid of any pedophiles or those who could be dodgy. This has been lost in all the hysteria coming from many who have zero idea of church structur, or the circumstances. The norms and mores of the time did not readily enable people to go to the police about things that were not their business. Children did not have rights and it was said that someone was “interfering with” children. The term pedophile was not known until the late 1980s.
    Lets hope all the people carrying on about George are all volunteering to assist in the current shambles of homeless children and State wards who are being revoltingly abused both mentally and sexually plus exposed to drugs. Happening right now!!!

  6. Greta  

    No excuses. Every inquiry is a “witch hunt” to the friends of the perpetrators.

    If a child comes to you and complains they have been molested, do you turn the child away because he didn’t make a specific request for formal action??

    We are talking about the kind of man who would do such a thing. Enough excuses. Don’t stop with Pell either. That’s just Ballarat.

  7. Graham Houghton  

    Twenty-eight is not too young to stand up for what is right. You can vote and go to war at eighteen; and look at what many people much younger that twenty-eight years of age have achieved down the ages – Malala Yousefzai the most recent shining example of a young person standing up for what is right in the face of not just a pope, but lethal opposition.

    • A bloody disgrace I wonder if it was his family would he think differently

  8. Patricia  

    I wouldn’t excuse him because he was only twenty eight. By that age I was married, was running a household and was caring for two children and with another one on the way. I consider twenty eight to be a mature age.

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