Saturday 20th of July 2024

insulting truck drivers...


pell lies...

Pell replied: “I was aware of a report in the newspapers and of course through my eventual meetings at groups of survivors and victims that was brought home to me very clear, and there were groups such as Broken Rites that were very active.

“Well, with some of those groups I took what they said with a grain of salt. But nonetheless there was evidence something needed to be done to deal with the suffering.”

He also said while he was aware of evidence given by witness Paul Hersbach to the commission on Monday – who told of horrific abuse suffered by his father, his uncle and himself at the hands of Father Victor Rubeo – he had not read his witness statement.

“Did you view his evidence, Cardinal?” Hersbach’s lawyer, Sean Cash, asked.

“No I didn’t. I have a job here in Rome,” Pell replied, to gasps and sniggers from the public gallery.

Cash also challenged Pell on comments he made to counsel assisting, Gail Furness, where he compared sex abuse within the church to a truck driver picking up a female passenger and molesting her while on the job.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for the leadership of that company to be held responsible,” Pell said.

But Cash challenged that a church was not a trucking company.

“This was an organisation of the highest integrity, one which you would expect would conduct itself in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ, that’s right?” Cash said.

Royal commission chair, Justice Peter McClellan, also questioned Pell on the comments.

“When a priest, through the act of the parish or in any other way, gains access to a child who comes to the church with a parents … that is quite different to the relationship between the truck driver and the casual passenger, isn’t it?” McClellan said.

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One should be aware that Pell tells lies — AND HE KNOWS IT. This can be proven and has been proven. But pell is either a wriggling psychopath or an imbecile — unless he is a bit of both... To make a statement in relation to "truck drivers" is abhorrently criminal and insensitive towards victims, as he would know that his organisation, the Catholic Church, under the Canon Law, can and will hide secrets from the state — including the knowledge (and protection thereof) of the pedophile priests in its midst. 


driving a truck through his defence...


Cardinal George Pell has strongly defended the so-called Melbourne Response as Australia's first comprehensive redress scheme for victims of clerical sexual abuse at the royal commission.

Appearing at the commission via video link from the Vatican in Rome on Thursday night, Cardinal Pell likened the Catholic Church's responsibility for child abuse to that of a ''trucking company''. If a driver sexually assaulted a passenger they picked up along the way, he said, ''I don't think it appropriate for the … leadership of that company be held responsible.''

Cardinal Pell, who established the Melbourne Response when he was Archbishop of the Melbourne Archdiocese in 1996, denied suggestions that any of its three arms - the Independent Commissioner, compensation panel and counselling arm Carelink - had stopped operating independently of the other.

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WHAT A LOT OF CODSWALLOP... And this man has been the spiritual guide to our own Lying Tony...


truckies are pissed off with pell....

The Australian Trucking Association has joined child sexual abuse victims and their advocates in expressing outrage at comments made by Cardinal George Pell while giving evidence before a royal commission on Thursday night.

While facing questions from the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse, Pell said the Catholic Church was no more responsible for child abuse carried out by church figures than a trucking company would be if they employed a driver who molested women.

“If the truck driver picks up some lady and then molests her, I don’t think it’s appropriate, because it is contrary to the policy, for the ownership, the leadership of that company to be held responsible,” Cardinal Pell told the commission via video link from Rome on Thursday.

His comments left chair of the Australian Trucking Association, Noelene Watson, fuming.

“There are more than 170,000 professional truck drivers in Australia,” she said.

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pell is driving on empty, on a rocky road & with a flat tyre...

Rome has been good to Cardinal Pell. Soft folds of skin fall to his chin. He looks a little older, more comfortable and a very long way away. Hopes of a glimpse of St Peter’s were dashed. He sat in front of the plainest possible curtain for his two-and-a-half-hour grilling by the royal commission.

Surely it was one of his life’s mistakes to compare the church to a trucking company? It opened the cardinal to scorn on all sides. Did he have in mind truckies interfering with hitchhikers? Yes. Did the church have no more integrity than a trucking company?

“The church is not always of the highest integrity,” he said with regret. “It existed for 2,000 years and there is a long history of sin and crime within the church, and one of the functions of the leadership of the church is to control and eradicate this.”

He was against sin and crime; for victims; and full of apologies. He began his testimony from Rome with an apology. He recalled the apology he gave when he became the Archbishop of Melbourne. He apologised once more to Chrissie and Anthony Foster, the parents of the two little girls raped by Father Kevin O’Donnell. He so regretted things were not better between them and the church.

Years ago he offered the Fosters a little money and warned them any attempt to sue the church would be “strenuously” defended. The cardinal faced more questions about this word than anything else in his interrogation. He explained: “We did not encourage people across the board to seek compensation through the courts.”

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speaking in tongues ....

speaking in tongues ....

Yes Gus,

Anyone seeking to understand the ruinous decline of the Catholic Church needs only to listen to the venal platitudes uttered by its spokesperson, the sociopath Cardinal George Pell.

Pell’s odious suggestion that victims of child sex abuse perpetrated by the trusted servants of his church are akin to hapless hitchhikers who fall victim to psychopathic truck drivers surely says everything about the real value system that drives the institution & the value it places on its congregation.

By their works ye shall know them.’


insulating our homes...


See Gus comment at the end of this article...


Alan Austin was requested to present a sworn statement of evidence to the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP). In the third part of his submission he explores how the scheme actuallysaved lives.

Pink batts Royal Commission submission: Part Three

Read Part One

Read Part Two

The Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP) is expected to release its final report next week. However, several vital aspects of the program were not examined by the Commissioner in the public hearings earlier this year.

So what chance a fair overall assessment? Will the Commissioner examine all relevant evidence in private and report on the program’s significant successes? Or will he concentrate only on the alleged failures, which were the sole focus of the public hearings?

Alan Austin was requested by the Commission to present a sworn statement of evidence following his research into the global impact of stimulus packages published here at Independent Australia and elsewhere. This is part three of his submission, edited only for format.

Part One outlined the overall success of the Rudd government’s fiscal response to the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2009-10.

Part Two examined the need for great speed in implementing the stimulus packages.

Lives saved by the program’s rapid implementation

The four deaths which occurred installing insulation in the latter stage of the rapidly expanding 2009 home insulation program were tragic indeed. They certainly warranted the focus, the nationwide mourning and the subsequent inquiries into direct and indirect causes.

But what is the quantum of deaths which would have occurred had starting the HIP been delayed by another month, or another three or six months – or had it not proceeded at all?

Deaths averted include suicide and homicide related to unemployment or bankruptcy, coronary and cerebral injury due to anxiety, industrial deaths due to corner-cutting, deaths due to drug and alcohol abuse exacerbated by the crisis and stress-related traffic fatalities.

study in the September 2013 British Medical Journal (BMJ) investigated in detail the impact of the 2008 global economic crisis on suicides in 54 countries in Europe and the Americas.

Using data from the World Health Organization’s mortality database and elsewhere, the study used design time trend analysis to compare the actual number of suicides in 2009 with the number that would have been expected based on trends before the crisis, that is, from 2000 to 2007. [17]

The study found thousands of suicides were linked directly to the global financial crisis (GFC), with the highest numbers of people killing themselves in countries where job losses were heaviest:

“We found a clear rise in suicide after the 2008 global economic crisis; there were about 4,900 excess suicides in the year 2009 alone compared with those expected based on previous trends (2000-07).”

The researchers attributed this to soaring dole queues and bankruptcies, repossessions of houses, cars and other purchases and the attendant personal and social problems. They estimated 34 million people worldwide lost their jobs during the crisis.

Key findings were that suicides among all-age men were between 4.2% and 6.4% higher in 2009 than expected if past trends had continued. They found for women, no change in Europe and an increase in the Americas of 2.3%, smaller than that among men.

Mortality data for Australia are found in the one file at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at document 3303.0. Refer table 1.2 Underlying causes of death (Australia). [18] For the following analysis, women will be excluded for now.

The number of suicides among men in Australia in 2008 was 1,784. Refer Intentional self-harm (X60-X84), line 1824. Assume Australia’s situation is similar to that of Europe and the Americas, an increase over this level of 4.2% – taking the lower limit – is an extra 75 fatalities. An increase over this level of 6.4% – the upper limit – is an extra 114 fatalities.

Taking the lower number, to this can be added the increased number of homicides arising from the stresses which give rise to increased suicides. According to the ABS, there were 137 male homicide victims in Australia in 2008. Refer Assaults (X85-Y09), line 1850.

Assuming the stress would lead to an equivalent small rise in homicides as in suicides, applying the lower limit of the BMJ findings, a 4.2% increase is another 6 victims per year.

Adding road trauma, there were 1,121 male fatalities in 2008. Refer transport accidents (V01-V99), line 1554. A similar 4.2% increment in traffic fatalities – continuing to assume a similar stress factor – would add another 47 lives lost.

Then adding drug and alcohol related deaths, there were 321 male fatalities in 2008. Refer Mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use (F10-F19) at line 494. A 4.2% increment in drug and alcohol fatalities adds another 13 lives lost.

Now add fatalities from hypertensive heart disease. There were 630 male fatalities in 2008. Refer Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15) at line 722. A similar 4.2% increment in these deaths would add another 26 lives lost.

Now add gastrointestinal disease fatalities – ulcers and dyspepsia – there  were 261 fatalities in 2008. Refer Diseases of oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (K20-K31) line 882. A similar 4.2% increment adds another 11 lives lost.

The total for just these six categories of  male lives lost is 178. This excludes increases in fatalities from industrial accidents or other diseases due to stress and anxiety, such as those affecting the cerebrovascular or nervous systems. It does not include women impacted in the same way as men.

These are all likely to be substantial. It is reasonable, therefore, to estimate that a conservative cumulative total would be more than 200 fatalities. That is an annual figure, which would repeat for each year the recession continued and unemployment worsened.

How long the recession would have continued in Australia had it been allowed to get a grip is impossible to know for certain. But the experience of similar economies is instructive.

The World Bank [19] and [20] show, respectively, annualand quarterly negative GDP growth for most of the world’s economies. Of the 34 advanced OECD economies – those most equivalent to Australia’s – from 2008 onwards, only two avoided more than two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth – the accepted definition of recession in Australia.

These were Australia and Poland – the two countries which allocated the highest percentage of GDP in direct investment spending, as shown in figure 3.3, at page 6, above [in Part two of this IA series].

Only four OECD countries avoided a full year of negative GDP growth: Australia, Israel, South Korea and Poland.

Ten experienced one negative year: Austria, Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Slovak Republic, Switzerland and Turkey.

Twelve experienced two negative years: Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Netherlands, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Six experienced three negative years: Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg and Spain. Portugal experienced four negative years and Greece five.

It is reasonable to propose that had Australia’s economy followed the trajectory of Norway, the preventable deaths would have been in the order of 200+. Had Australia followed Iceland and Finland, the deaths would have been in the order of 400+. Had Australia followed Luxembourg, the deaths would have been in the order of 600+.

All four of those economies were ranked higher on the IAREM table than Australia in 2007. In fact all four were in the top five economies. Refer chart A, page 2, above [in Part one of this IA series].

All four of those governments took stimulus action, but at a lower level and less rapidly.

It is possible to determine which OECD countries implemented the specific stimulus response advocated by Australia’s then Opposition in 2008-09 and make a reasonable estimate of the length of the recession and the number of hundreds of deaths which would then have eventuated. That is beyond the scope of this statement, however.

So what were the actual outcomes for men in 2009 over 2008 on those six variables?

  1. Suicides in Australia fell 8.6% from 1,784 in 2008 to 1,631 in 2009.
  2. Homicides rose 8.8% from 137 to 149.
  3. Traffic fatalities fell 3.2% from 1,121 to 1085.
  4. Drug and alcohol related fatalities fell 13.7% from 321 to 277.
  5. Hypertensive heart disease deaths fell 0.48% from 630 to 627.
  6. Gastrointestinal disease deaths fell 0.77% from 261 to 259.

The rate of population increase was 1.82% from December 2008 to December 2009.

It is not possible to quantify precisely the specific number of deaths averted by the HIP. But it is reasonable to claim that Australia’s stimulus program overall – of which the HIP was a vital part – served to avoid preventable deaths in the hundreds.

It seems strange that some inquiries [into the HIP by coroners, the Auditor-General and the Senate] found that the four deaths related directly to the HIP might have been prevented had the scheme started later by some months or years without noting that any delay would almost certainly have incurred far greater mortality.

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Now, what is this insulation scheme Royal Commission doing in this line of article about priests who commit the crime of sexual abuse?...


—  The amount of suicides due to abuse has been far more than that of deaths by the Insulation scheme. 

— The Insulation scheme Royal Commission has been deliberately set up by the Abbott Regime to "prove" that the scheme was a disaster, while overall the scheme was VERY SUCCESSFUL in providing employment during the GFC. As well the scheme helped many household REDUCE THEIR CONSUMPTION of electricity by up to 30 per cent.

The scheme is often not accounted for in the general reduction of consumption (see: we consume less electricity...). What should be investigated is the abuse of the scheme by shonky operators and Mumbai call centres. 


why do monks wear robes?...



The old joke is: why do monks wear robes?

because they can run faster with a lifted robe than if they'd been wearing trousers at their ankles, while chasing nuns who run away by lifting their habit...

But seriously, some people (here a certain Father Richard Umbers) write sacred crap to hide the crime of priests sexually molesting young people:

This is diplomatic sensitivity par excellence that must remain strictly secret. If a penitent thought that his conscience was subject to NSA monitoring, let alone that his confidences were able to be leaked by a "Father Julian Assange" or "Monsignor Edward Snowden," the sacrament would only be frequented by children and the lonely. This is why there is a basic agreement in the Catholic tradition that the priest must never speak of confessional sins, not even to the sinner himself, if he is no longer in confession. St. Thomas Aquinas even went so far as to say that if a priest were to divulge what is said in confession he would not only be committing sacrilege, he would also be lying since what is confessed to God cannot be said to be known by the priest as a man. As the prophet Isaiah foretold: "The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, 'Please read this', he will say, 'I cannot, for it is sealed'" (Isaiah 29:11).

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"The question that cannot be answered"... yes, Dr Who chases the soul of the wicked but "silence will fall"...

The question remains that, when priests tell of their bad deed to other priests or a bishop under the umbrella of "confession", the confessor becomes a co-conspirator in the bad deed should it be a deed with strong ramification against the social order. I know there is a certain "religious caveat" placed on confession to prevent such association but nonetheless, in reality, morally, the bad deed also belongs to the confessor once he knows about it. The purpose of confession is to share the weight of transgression and be absolved from it, but the fact remains that the bad deed has been performed and hidden from public view... 

The one item which obviously is missing from the Ten Commandments is the eleventh : "thou shall not have sexual relations with small kids" — though this concept features somewhat as a sin, in the godly dedication of celibate priests.

The confessor, in knowledge of a priest who commits sexual crimes against children, has thus to carry a very heavy burden by the knowledge of such crimes — or has HE (no women allowed as priests in the Catholic church, possibly for this sexual reason) Alzheimer's?. 

No-one in their right mind would think that such crimes would not have an effect on young victims for the rest of their lives. Silence here is not golden, but a latent participation in the life-long victimisation of such people. 

Only the exposed truth can end the process of victimisation, with proper civil punishment, because let's face it, once "forgiven" by his peer, the offending priests will offend again and again. The role of saying nothing only becomes part of the reinforcement that such crimes are not punishable in this temporal world. Often, when the knowledge of such crime has a chance to emerge in the public arena, the offending priests are sent to work in other parishes, where they continue to offend.

One has to also look at the possibility that bishops and priests gathering the knowledge of priests performing sexual crimes against minors also acquire this knowledge outside confession. In this case, many churchmen have chosen to still hide behind religious gobbledygook secrecy. 

So, to what purpose are they doing so? One has to look at the dwindling numbers of personnel. There are less and less people committing themselves to become priests — except in poor countries where it's an alternative to poverty, as they collect cash from the poor who are "in search of salvation". Salvation and cash often go hand in hand.

In a modern society with such "apparent" loose morals and easy access to "debauchery" — by this I mean there is a visible culture of understanding our sexual nature in a freer and more knowledgeable context — it would be very hard for anyone to be ignorant of such exposure and not be stirred by it. Committing to celibacy in the Catholic Church would be quite tortuously torturing in such an environment. It can be assumed thus, that the commitment to god in the priesthood invites a certain proportion of crackpots, since the premise of religious beliefs in themselves are a bit crack-potty when faced with diligent or scientific scrutiny.

Unless I am mistaken, the risks of being found out, should one be bent, have increased as the "inspections" have been strenghtened by the "moral public", which expects better from the moral guardians.

In the far distant past, I would suggest that priests did the sex crimes (and more — including war), but got away with it because the social tenets were not as astute and not media-focused as they are these days — since the only media then was the words of the bible... 

In fact sexual misconduct by priests was quite "liberal" in such times...

Back in the Middle-Ages (before and after) one has to know that "... lusty priests seduce the women who confess to them; noblemen keep mistresses; monks and nuns engage in secret liaisons while peasant couples copulate behind the hedgerows" ( See joke at top...

It is also known that some cardinals (bishops, etc) had "boys" for sex (as well as concubines) — the "boys" being well looked after. They often were groomed for becoming the next "high priests", keeping the fucking of boys tradition alive. Of course, the boys in those days had the inconvenient other choices of going on a battlefield with a great chance of being gloriously shot, maimed or killed... or stay poor and ignorant while toiling on a farm. Thus being sexually abused by the cardinal was like having a promotion.

The glittering life in the full-on pomposity of the church with gold chalices and embroided robes at the high echelons plus sex with boys, would have attracted more homosexuals or bisexuals to the priesthood... Heterosexuals would have joined the monks to have shenanigans with the nuns, as recorded in history...

One must know that in bourgeois/noble families of these times, some males were pre-designated to become priests, some were pre-designated to become lawyers, others were to follow on the family-privileged footsteps including climbing the ranks of the nobility... This was mostly designed for such families to control the workings of the nation, below the rank of king.

 Democracy has demolished all this — except, are people like Anthony Abbott trying hard to reset the ancient non-democratic values of kingdoms?... And are priests part of his grand plan? ... Though nowadays the moral imperative is to uphold the sin value of sexual crime... Thank you Julia.

Meanwhile, despite the secret of confession, in my humble opinions, offending priests and confessors should be kicked in the balls... That might make them come out of their hole. Compensation of course has to be paid to victims and offending priests have to go to prison. But the church seems to prefer to stay on the side of its priests, while hypocritically claiming to be on the side of victims... Bugger that !

So back to the beginning of the diatribe at top... The seal has to be broken without breaking it if one must... There are many ways to do this, including the odd anonymous letter and/or encouraging victims to go to the police. Unfortunately, all too often, it has been church business to give victims the "option" of going to the police or being well looked after... 

We know what this means... Pigs fly.


thou shalt not bear false witness...


For all his many failures, Ted Baillieu was a hero for being the leader prepared to take on George Pell by launching an inquiry into church sexual abuse, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

IF CARDINAL GEORGE PELL HAS WET DREAMS, his arousal surely stems from a self-preservatory love that has publicly exposed him as little more than a corporate psychopath.

His repugnant display of arrogant onanism at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, confirmed his indecent tamperings with the truth and was an affront to the notion of the judicial swearing of the biblical Oath.

No doubt intimate with the entire of the Decalogue, in particular the ninth of the Ten Commandments, 'Thou shalt not bear false witness', Pell's disingenuous testimony and lame excuses were unconvincing that he did otherwise.

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Read articles from top toon... Note: The NSW inquiry into priest sex abuse was mostly designed to demonise Peter Fox, a police officer, for exposing that the police and the church may have had a cosy hush-hush relationship in the Newcastle area... Margaret Cunneen was the the prosecutor who grilled Peter Fox...

Former premier Barry O'Farrell appointed Ms Cunneen to preside over the special commission of inquiry into claims of interference in police investigations of alleged paedophile priests in the Hunter region.

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meanwhile in belgium... a pedophile priest gets a parish...


Yesterday it turned out that the careful process followed by the bishop – consulting both his diocesan council and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before appointing Fr. Flamez – was not as careful as it seemed. He forgot one all-important group: the victims of sexual abuse by clergy. And it was Fr. Flamez himself who made the best call possible in not accepting the appointment as parish priest of Middelkerke. A statement published yesterday says that the bishop realises that the appointment hurt the victims of sexual abuse, and that that was never his intention. Which begs the question: why did he not realise this beforehand?

The Belgian bishops use certain guidelines when dealing with clergy who have been found guilty of sexual abuse of minors. One of these is that they can never be allowed to work with children and young people again. The position of parish priest does entail working with people of all ages, including youth and children.

We can’t know what the exact motivation was for Fr. Flamez’ decision not to accept the appointment. Was it the questions in the media which made his position untenable, or perhaps a realisation that this was not the sort of duty he could take up considering his past mistakes? Yesterday’s statement only mentions “given circumstances”, which is as vague as it gets.

All in all, this whole situation, despite the apparent care expressed in certain areas, gives the impression of carelessness. The victims, be they of the priest in question or of other clergy, can not be ignored. The Church is under scrutiny in this area, and may well serve as an example to other institutions. But not when things like this happen.

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sisterly love...


Carol Cunneen was shocked to learn that she was being blamed by her older sister Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, SC, for a contentious corruption inquiry.

"It was not me who was the complainant to ICAC. I knew nothing of the accident until I read of it in the press. She never asked me if I was responsible and I vehemently deny it," said Carol.

She was referring to the investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption into whether Margaret Cunneen advised her son's girlfriend to pretend to have problems with her breast implants to stop police doing a breath test at the scene of a car accident.

Carol Cunneen, 49, is now in an invidious position. She wants her sister to win her impending High Court battle against the ICAC.

But on the other hand, if Margaret does succeed and there is no ICAC inquiry, Carol says: "I will be the one seen to be vexatious, which I am not."

A fortnight ago Fairfax Media revealed that Margaret Cunneen, 55, had sent an email to a member of the public stating: "What a malevent [sic] person my long-estranged [family member] is to take the bare bones of the terrible crash that my father told her about and do this to me."

Carol Cunneen has confirmed she is the person to whom her sister was referring but she is adamant that she didn't know about the car accident until news broke of ICAC's investigation.




Sisterly love is getting thinner here... But one would guess that ICAC had more dirt on Cunneen than a traffic offence by her son's girlfriend, would it not? Something thus is quite weird... Why would ICAC go after Cunneen?... No... no... Not because she is a tall poppy... She is not. So Why would they bother? One could start formulating a few theories — and all tend to point at her way she handled the NSW investigation into sex abuse in NSW as a prosecutor, a judge and jury at the same time.... but I am not a lawyer, thus I can't comment beyond this...


pell's heaven costing the earth...


Cardinal George Pell, who was hand-picked by Pope Francis to cut outlays and shed light on the Vatican's murky finances, has been accused of spending half a million euros in six months by flying business class and using large sums on salaries and office furniture.

The allegations, contained in leaked figures published by Italian magazine L'Espresso on Friday, suggest Cardinal Pell also spent €2508 ($3600) on religious robes at a tailor and about $6650 on kitchen-sink fittings.

After his move to Rome to spearhead Francis' mission to free up Vatican funds for the poor, the former archbishop of Sydney said he would try to save the Vatican "millions, if not tens of millions" of dollars a year.

Since then, he has flown business class and paid an assistant he brought from Australia a $21,600-a-month salary, the magazine reported, citing leaked Vatican documents. Francis, the article added, had challenged Cardinal Pell on his spending.

Despite Francis' decision to move into humble dwellings at the Vatican, Cardinal Pell has spent more than $5100 a month to rent an office and apartment at an upmarket address where he spent nearly $87,000 on furniture, according to the allegations.

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protected species...


see also more bosom buddies...



One of Australia's most notorious paedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, was allowed to continue on as a priest despite a bishop receiving a complaint about him in his first year, an inquiry has heard.

The elderly Ridsdale is giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat via video link from Ararat prison, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for the rape and abuse of children.

He was quizzed at length about whether or not people were warned about his offending tendencies as he was moved between schools around western Victoria, in the 1960s and 70s.

Ridsdale told the inquiry he remembered receiving a warning from a bishop over an incident involving a boy in Ballarat.

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The time has come for George Pell to forget about the legal strategies, the honour and assets of the Church, and his personal dignity. He needs to come back home, face up and tell the truth, writes Michael Bradley.

Immoveable object meets irresistible force.

Cardinal George Pell has engaged various tactics over the years in his response to the grave allegations regarding his part in the Catholic Church's handling of sexual abuse victims, but the attitude has remained the same: impassive, righteous, unrepentant, unmoved.

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See toon at top...


see also: holier than thou .....


see also: 

Ridsdale repeatedly said he did not recall key details of his interaction with Catholic clergy as he was being moved around parishes in Victoria where he committed the sexual offences.

The former Catholic priest said he did not recall living with George Pell, Australia’s most senior cleric, nor why Pell agreed to appear in court as a character reference for him in 1994.

Ridsdale told the hearing, held in the Victorian city of Ballarat, said that shortly after taking up a posting in Apollo Bay, he spoke to a man who “said they are saying things in the pub about you and kids so I thought it was time to get out, so I put in for a transfer.”

Despite being granted an early transfer, Ridsdale said he does not remember speaking to any senior church officials about this or the reasons why he was allowed to move onto another parish.

The Ballarat area was the scene for numerous child sex offences committed by members of the Catholic church, some of whom were imprisoned. Pell, now a senior cleric in the Vatican, has agreed to appear at the hearing in person after being accused by an abuse survivor of attempting to buy his silence in the 1990s.

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pell the destroyer...

Cardinal George Pell “destroyed the unity” of the Catholic church’s response to child sex abuse, an Australian bishop has told the royal commission.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, who played a key role in developing the Australian church’s response to child sex abuse, also said pope Francis was yet to show strong leadership on the issue and one of his predecessors, John Paul II, responded “poorly” to revelations of child abuse.

Robinson worked with other bishops on an Australia-wide clergy response to abuse, Towards Healing, from 1994. When Towards Healing was close to finalisation in 1996, Pell created the Melbourne Response, taking the country’s largest dioscese out of a united response.

Robinson said Pell, then the archbishop of Melbourne, created the rival program because he wanted to be seen as a leader on abuse.

“What he came up with has a lot to recommend it, but I had very big problems with it too,” Robinson told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse in Sydney on Monday.

“The major one was that the very first point of contact for a victim was a QC in a city office ... I found the system was asking too much that people go to a city office and see a QC, and that in any case he had destroyed our unity.”

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blasts from the past...

Former governor-general Peter Hollingworth and former Brisbane archbishop Reverend Phillip Aspinall have been listed to appear at the royal commission into child sexual abuse in Brisbane.

Two prestigious private schools in south-east Queensland are the focus of the royal commission that returns to Brisbane today.

Former Anglican archbishop Dr Hollingworth resigned as governor-general in May 2003 over his handling of sexual abuse cases.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating complaints, practices and procedures at Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) in Spring Hill and St Paul's School at Bald Hills.

The latest public hearings in Brisbane will look at the experiences of former students at both schools who were allegedly abused by former school counsellor Kevin Lynch.

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an old joke...

George Pell's lawyer has told an appeals court the child sex abuse offences the Cardinal is now in jail for are "impossible" and a jury should have found him not guilty even if they believed his victim.

Key points:
  • Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys in December and later sentenced to six years' prison
  • He has maintained his innocence and is appealing against the convictions
  • His lawyers are arguing the convictions should be overturned on three grounds, including they were "unreasonable"


Speaking at today's appeal hearing at Victoria's Supreme Court, Bret Walker SC told the court that evidence given at trial supplied Pell with an alibi.

In written submissions, Pell's lawyers listed 12 other reasons why the offending could not have occurred, including issues with Pell's location in the church at the time of the offending and with the dates of the offences in the 1990s.

Mr Walker argued Pell's clerical robe could not have been pulled aside to commit the "atrocious acts" he has been convicted of.

Pell, 77, is serving a six-year jail term for sexually abusing two choirboys when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

He fronted the appeal in person, after being taken to court in a prison van and escorted in by guards this morning.

His appeal is being heard by three Court of Appeal judges and is being live-streamed on the court's website.

Some of Pell's relatives and supporters were in the full courtroom for the hearing, as well as abuse survivor advocates and reporters.


Read more:


Read from top.


This reminds the world (and me) of a Catholic joke that has done the rounds since priests wore trousers: 

"Priests can't have it off with nuns as nuns run faster with their dress pulled up than priests with their trousers down... "

reasonable guilt...

Cardinal George Pell’s formidable defence team presented Victoria’s county court and the court of appeal with what they described as “13 solid obstacles in the path of a conviction”, which they said proved the abuse of two choirboys by Pell in 1996 could not have happened.

This week, two out of three appellant judges decided that those 13 reasons fell “well short” of such a conclusion. It was not the role of those judges – chief justice Anne Ferguson, court of appeal president justice Chris Maxwell and justice Mark Weinberg – to decide Pell’s guilt. Rather, the question they needed to consider was whether the 12 jurors who found Pell guilty in December must have held a reasonable doubt as to his guilt based on the evidence before them; not that they could have, or should have. This was vital to Pell’s appeal on the key ground that the jury made an unreasonable decision.

Ferguson and Maxwell found the complainant’s evidence against Pell was “rightly characterised” by prosecutors “as compelling, both because of the clarity and cogency of what [he] said and because of the complete absence of any indication of contrivance in the emotion which [he] conveyed when giving his answers”.


Read more:


Read from top.



Read also: 

the ugly truth...

jeff, george and salvatore...


EXCLUSIVE: George Pell, Father Anthony Bongiorno and the killing of Maria James


By Tess Lawrence


40 years ago, Melbourne bookshop owner and mother of two boys Maria James was viciously stabbed 68 times with her own kitchen knife. As a new inquest begins into these killings, contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence calls for Cardinal George Pell, former Premier Jeff Kennett and Victoria Police to be re-investigated.


Should incarcerated convicted paedophile Cardinal George Pell be interviewed by Victoria Police about his relationship with fellow paedophile and close friend Father Anthony Salvatore Bongiorno, chief suspect in the bloody murder of Maria James on 17 June 1980? 

This nascent year marks the 40th anniversary of this heinous and still unsolved crime.

The Coroners Court of Victoria is now in the midst of an investigation into the ruthless killing of Maria James.

Should Cardinal George Pell be interviewed by coronial investigators and be called as a witness to the inquest?

New facts about the Maria James murder have come to light and Cardinal George Pell may be able to provide more information about Father Anthony Bongiorno and the brother whose requiem mass he officiated, Salvatore "Sam" Bongiorno.

We found this article by Keith Moor in the Sunday Herald Sun, 30 August 2007, on the retrospective Wayback Machine, the internet archive. What’s it doing there?

Here’s a quote:

'FORMER premier Jeff Kennett received written information in 1998 that nominated Father Bongiorno as a child molester. He gave the letter, which contained a photo of Father Bongiorno, to police.'



What did Victoria Police do with that letter and photo? Should former Premier Jeff Kennett be interviewed by the Coroner? What did the letter say? Who wrote it? Was the letter DNA tested?

Has Kennett, the former chairman of Beyond Blue, kept a copy of the letter and photo he received implicating Father Tony Bongiorno in the Maria James murder? Where is that material now? From where was it posted? Or was it delivered to Parliament House? Is there any CCV footage? Will the police give this material to the coronial investigators? If not, will the Coroner compel the police to produce this evidence? So many questions. So few answers.


Who signed that letter to Kennett? Was it anonymous? Why can’t we see the letter and photo now that Father Bongiorno is dead; redact the sender’s name if needs be. Was the letter typed, handwritten? Had the sender sent a copy of the same letter and photo to Victoria Police? Did they bin this info? Just asking.  

Here we should refer to the volatile and sometimes acrimonious relationship between now Cardinal George Pell and Jeff Kennett, both uber-powerful figures in Melbourne’s establishment, both notoriously capable of exercising extreme autocratic power and influence and still needy for both. No mistake should be made about any diminution of power and influence since Pell’s conviction and incarceration. He still has powerful friends in both high and low places.

Kennett less so, but nonetheless he occupies a prison of another kind; not dissimilar to that of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, incarcerated in cells of their own making within those invisible walls that sometimes entrap the once-powerful now languishing in a faraway galaxy of lessening consequence; Misters Who?

Few analysts will forget then Archbishop Pell’s edict to the non-Catholic Jeff Kennett that he was forbidden to receive communion at the Pontifical requiem mass for the state funeral of B A Santamaria in March 1998, where Pell delivered an eloquent and moving panegyric about his friend, who to this day surely remains Australia’s most powerful Catholic layman. Waddya reckon Jesus – Jezza, to you and me – would’ve said?


Pell’s spiteful rebuff to Kennett should be viewed in the shroud of hypocrisy worn by Pell. But hey, it was payback time for Pell against his nemesis, Kennett.

According to his conviction – and the datelines of his crimes – Archbishop George Pell was already a sexual abuser when he denied Kennett’s request and yet the Host consecrated in Holy Communion would be served by the hands of a paedophile rapist — as the defiled Host has been served a billion times to believers and parishioners by paedophile priests.

Remember that in this sacrament, the wafer of the Host is miraculously transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. To be specific, paedophile priests who administer Holy Communion are surely raping Jesus.

It should be noted that a couple of years beforehand, in 1996, Kennett told Archbishop George Pell to sort out the sex abuse issue within Victoria or possibly face a Royal Commission.


What’s wrong with this behind-closed-doors dictum? Everything. Kennett should have called a Royal Commission regardless, given the gravity and extent of the sex abuse. These criminal activities by priests and brothers within the Catholic Church were widely known.


By designating to the Catholic Church what should have been the role, duties of care and prosecution by the state, Kennett undermined the role of the police and judiciary and failed to act in the public interest.

Moreover, he breached the protocols of the Separation of Powers. Kennett had no right to make this private pact with the Catholic Church or to make such a repugnant decision on our behalf.

Did Kennett discuss his decision with his colleagues; his cabinet?

In every sense, it was a pact made with the Devil; a pact that the Kennett-proxied State made with the perpetrators of industrial-strength sexual abuse of children. In its execution, it meant the State facilitated the subsequent cover-up. The Catholic Church, of course, typically did next to nothing.

Yes, a redress scheme panel of very important impressive names – and police – was set up. It made a great figleaf over the genitalia of paedophilic clergy.

As the Royal Commission revealed. Kennett had given Pell and The Church a free pass.

The Catholic Church did not clean up its act and Kennett did not call a Royal Commission.


Kennett’s Napoleonic actions reflect the persistent diminution and disregard for the safety and welfare of victims — in this case, little and vulnerable children. Instead of the Premier’s guardianship of children, his actions reflected the state’s tacit collusion in protecting the reputation of the all-powerful Catholic Church.

Kennett did the victims and wider community a great injustice and much ongoing harm.  

Thus, against the above backdrop, it was a blessed relief in more ways than one when Acting Coroner Iain West called a halt to the obfuscating nonsense surrounding the mysterious cold case of the Maria James murder. 

Here is the full text:  


Friday 30 November 2018


Coroners Court of Victoria




Acting State Coroner Iain West has today re-opened the coronial investigation into the death of Maria James.


Ms James, 38, was found murdered in her bookshop at 736 High Street, Thornbury on 17 June 1980.


On 25 November 1982, Coroner K.G. Mason held an inquest into the death of Ms James and found that her homicide was committed by a person unknown.


In July 2017, the Coroners Court of Victoria received an application from Mark James, Ms James’s son, requesting that Coroner Mason’s finding be set aside and the coronial investigation into his mother’s death be re-opened.


Following the introduction of legislative amendments to the Coroners Act 2008 on 28 October 2018, His Honour is empowered to set aside findings made under previous Coroners Acts of 1958 and 1985 and re-open investigations if new facts or circumstances make it appropriate to do so.


Having considered the application, His Honour has determined to set aside the 1982 finding and re- open the investigation.


As the investigation is ongoing, no further comment can be made at this time.

Strangely, I could not find West’s statement on the Coroner’s website and notified the department of this. At the time of writing, I understand this is being rectified. It is not the first time that IA has discovered anomalies in court record keeping.

Independent Australia has learned that some senior police and personnel within the Department of Justice were bloody annoyed by West’s decision. Why? Because there are a number of egregious faultlines in the decades-long investigation(s) into the James murder, including what I assert is a deliberate failure to properly consider the relationship and overriding influence of the Catholic Church upon the establishment, the polity, the police, some media, judiciary, elite business and influencers, the top end of town — indeed the wider community. That influence remains sans frontieres. Even today.

Such is the climate of fear carefully cultivated by the Catholic Church and its agents and representatives, that many whistleblowers are still too scared and too scarred to be named.


Moreover, the threat of legal action has made writing/publishing about the church, problematic; especially when it comes to George Pell. Without doubt, a chat with Cardinal Pell about his fellow perpetrator, Father Tony Bongiorno, could clarify some aspects of the latter’s connection and relationship with Maria James.

Did Pell ever hear Bongiorno’s confession?  Has Pell ever heard confessions about the sexual abuse of children? Any priest or brother made such a confession to him?  He could certainly answer that much. No question. Pell should also answer questions about how he responded to those who confess such criminal acts. Answering such questions does not break the Seal of Confession.


The 38-year-old mother of two young boys had been bound and viciously stabbed 68 times in her Thornbury secondhand bookshop, with her own Wiltshire kitchen knife, on that fateful Tuesday, evoking similarities with the frenzied stabbings in yet another decades-old unsolved crime against women — the notorious Easey Street murders of Suzanne Armstrong and Susan Bartlett, three years earlier.

Neither I nor Independent Australia make any inference whatever that George Pell was involved in the murder of Maria James in any way but it should be noted that Pell was a friend to Father Bongiorno – long before the murder - and long after; including long after it was common knowledge amongst priests, the Vatican, the Catholic Church, in particular, the Archdiocese of Melbourne, within certain police circles and George Pell himself, that Bongiorno was a serial paedophile.

In fact, like so many other paedophile priests and brothers, aided and abetted in their crimes by the Catholic Church, whenever Bongiorno’s sexual abusing became obviously promiscuous, he was rewarded by his masters with being trafficked to new culling fields to enjoy "fresh new meat — young veal".  


In the Church’s despicable modus operandi, Bongiorno was simply whored around to various parishes, who welcomed him with open palms and the usual blaspheming psalms. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. These unholy priests, brothers in alms. Their insatiable sexual appetites kept well-fed.

In the lexicon of the Church, these lambs were led to their sexual slaughter by predominantly White adult males – who were in some cases, members of privileged, elite paedophile rings – who raped their child victims in the name of their God.

Often, these "new" parishes already had a paedophile priest in situ, so assimilation was easy. Victims were shared, notes compared.

At the time of the James murder, Bongiorno was an assistant parish priest at the nearby St Mary’s Catholic Church, on the corner of Rossmoyne and High St — the same street as the bookshop. Before it became known as "Bongiorno’s church" it once boasted a robust Italian migrant congregation and was known for its Italian mass.

On the Catholic Church websites, there is now a strange emptiness on the St Mary’s page(s).

Not even an acknowledgement or proud boast that the current Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, Christopher Prowse, was once the parish priest in residence. No list of priests who have officiated at the parish. Nothing to see here. No list of victims of paedophile priests. No list of paedophile priests.


Certainly, nothing about Father Anthony Bongiorno who remains a key suspect in the James murder and who is now known to have sexually abused Maria James’ youngest son, Adam, then aged 11, who lives with cerebral palsy, Tourettes and his champion of a big brother, Mark, then 13-years-old and an altar boy.

Please watch this moving and compelling interview with Adam and Mark, posted on YouTube by the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) and witness the personal empowerment that comes with not only the telling of your story but also the validation that comes with being heard and believed by the community.

In a cruel twist of fate, Bongiorno was actually the person whom police asked to notify Mark of his mother’s death. What is more, it was Bongiorno who officiated at Maria James’ funeral service. Galling. By any measure. But it is what we have sadly come to expect of insinuating Catholic paedophile priests and their facilitating church executives.


By all accounts, Maria James was fiercely protective of her children. She was a lioness of a mother when it came to her boys.

It is believed that on the very day she was murdered, Maria James was about to confront Father Bongiorno about sexually abusing Adam. Did he get in first? Did he kill her?

Or, was Bongiorno trying to protect someone else. His brother?  

Anthony and Sam were close siblings. Did Sam know Maria James? Was he a suitor? Did he murder Maria James? Did Victoria Police check out Sam Bongiorno?


Is Sam Bongiorno a legitimate suspect?

Did George Pell also know Tony Bongiorno’s brother Sam well? And their sister? The same sister who refused to give her DNA to eliminate Father Bongiorno as a murder suspect?  Why wasn’t she prepared to eliminate her brother Father Anthony Bongiorno as a suspect?

Could it be by giving her DNA she might also implicate her other brother, Sam Bongiorno? Was the sister interviewed by the police about Sam? Was Sam Bongiorno every interviewed by police?

If Father Bongiorno’s body can’t be exhumed – can Sam Bongiorno’s body be exhumed – are there other of his family members who can give permission to exhume Sam Bongiorno’s body?


An exhumation could move us closer to a DNA profile. Could Cardinal George Pell be asked to speak with the Bongiorno sister and gain permission from her to exhume Father Bongiorno’s body to take a DNA sample — as an act of compassion for Mark and Adam James?

At the time of writing, I have not been able to establish if the Bongiorno sister is still alive. If she isn’t, perhaps other family members could provide DNA samples present in any of her possessions — even a hairbrush?


It should be further noted that in the 1960s, "Tony" Bongiorno was in the same seminary group and intake at Corpus Christi College (then at Werribee) as his mate George Pell. By all accounts, they became firm friends and spent much time together, according to our trusted sources.

Also in that group was another student priest who, like Pell, would go on to become Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart.

Someone else in that illustrious intake was none other than Father Sean O’Connell who later became a parish priest at St Paul’s in Coburg, a mere Magdalene stone’s throw from St Mary’s Thornbury. So Father O’Connell was just up the road from his old mate, Father Bongiorno.

O’Connell was to conveniently provide his mate Father Tony Bongiorno with an all-day alibi at the time of the Maria James murder that contradicts other alleged sightings of a possible murderer (including of a bloodied priest) and various timelines.


In the 1850s, two famous and infamous Catholic rebels worshipped at St Paul’s.

One was the now canonised, Sister Mary MacKillop, who ironically was once arguably excommunicated for reporting a priest for child sexual abuse and the other was the notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, hanged and decapitated in1880.

O’Connell’s former student priest classmate, Archbishop Denis Hart did the honours when he celebrated mass for the consecration of St Paul’s on 3 July 2011 after three years of restoration work. Why the restoration work?

In March 2008, a suspicious fire caused about $2 million worth of damage to St Paul’s. The year before, the parish community hall opposite the church was razed.


But Ned Kelly was not the only criminal associated with St Paul’s. Indeed, Father Sean O’Connell found himself charged with harbouring one of Mark "Chopper" Read’s mates.


Three years before the Maria James murder, on 9 May 1977, notorious career criminal and Chopper-acolyte Jimmy Loughnan escaped from the bluestone fortress of Pentridge Prison and found himself in the grounds of St Paul’s.

As documented in James Morton’s book Maximum Security, Father O’Connell was originally convicted of harbouring the injured Loughnan, but the conviction was quashed on appeal.

It should be noted that Anthony Bongiorno was one of the student priests who attended a holiday camp on Phillip Island during the time when George Pell, also a student priest, was accused of sexually abusing altar boys, in 1961/1962.


In fact, the allegations against George Pell were the subject of what is known as the Southwell Report, which Pell falsely claimed exonerated him.

As we have cited, it did nothing of the sort.

It was a falsehood that Pell, the Catholic Church and its behemoth propaganda artillery had promulgated for years, yet again causing great damage to the veracity and reputations of complainants, victims/survivors of church, institutional and "civilian" child and adult sexual abuse alike, contributing to the great physical and mental harm done still to generations of victims.

The fake news of Pell’s assertions were compounded at the time by a dodgy headline in mainstream media’s Sydney Morning Herald falsely proclaiming ‘Pell exonerated over abuse claims’, despite the article’s anonymous writer actually pointing out among other things that:-

Mr Southwell's Report concluded that he accepted:

'... as correct the submission of [barrister Michael] Tovey that the complainant, when giving evidence of molesting, gave the impression that he was speaking honestly from an actual recollection. However, the respondent, also, gave me the impression that he was speaking the truth.'

Why was the writer anonymous? Grown-up journalists usually have a byline on such stories. Did the writer object to the headline and ask that his/her byline be removed?

The misrepresentation of the Southwell Report also proved a forceful deterrent to some victims coming forward — and outright fisting to the courage of those who had already stepped forward naming their tormentors and abusers.

The 91-year-old Alec James "Ginger" Southwell QC died on January 26, 2018. He had impeccable legal credentials.

But the Anglican retired Supreme Court judge was hardly independent, given his appointment by the Catholic church’s now discontinued oxymoronically named "National Committee for Professional Standards", set up to ‘receive inter alia, complaints of sexual abuse by Catholic priests’. Such is the wholesale proliferation of child sex abuse.

I am not alone in being disappointed by Southwell’s failure to publicly call out his employers – and Cardinal George Pell – for blatantly misrepresenting his findings. If Southwell had called out Pell, it would have been an inspirational statement on behalf of justice, let alone the integrity of his own report.


So close were George Pell and his classmate Tony Bongiorno, that whilst Pell was auxiliary bishop of Melbourne (1987-1996) he officiated at the 1994 requiem mass for Father Bongiorno’s brother, Sam.

Given some of the connections cited, there is a strong case to be made that Pell could shed light on events leading up to and since this gruesome murder, that has atrophied into yet another cold case involving cataclysmic violence towards women and police investigation(s) that have sadly come to a literal dead-end.

In this segment from the ABC’s 7.30 Report on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, hosted by Sarah Ferguson and presented by Kerri Ritchie, discussing the Maria James murder with celebrated detective Ron Iddles, important archival footage of an interview with Father Anthony Bongiorno conducted a few weeks after the murder, contains a few clues.

These clues are not apparent simply with the benefit of hindsight but are embedded within the defensive language and sentence construct used by Bongiorno, especially in the opening sequence of the interview. 

In the archival footage, which at starts about 3.17 seconds in, the ABC interviewer says to Bongiorno: “You knew Mrs James rather well.”


Bongiorno unexpectedly responds with:

“Of course, I have to admit that. I have to admit that I spoke to her. Only a fool would deny that.”

The analysIs of words is fraught with ambiguity and competing factors, and open to misinterpretation, especially by this amateur, but in discussion with a forensic psychologist who also viewed the footage, it raised similar alarm bells:

I would need to view all the interview footage shot with Bongiorno that day, including that which didn’t make it to air. Often any off camera sound and raw footage can provide further clues. I would  also like to see all the footage of the police interview with the priest.


But on what was put to air, the priest’s defensive response that he would “have to admit that” and “admit” he spoke to “her” and that “ only a fool would deny that ” seems unusual, I agree, especially in the context of the interviewer’s statement, rather than question.

Does the ABC still have the raw footage of this interview — stuff that did not go to air? Could it be given to the Coroner? Surely Victoria Police would have already requested this footage. Especially in light of more recent revelations in the media of Bongiorno’s sexual abuse of one of James’ sons.


Given that Bongiorno was Maria James’ parish priest and that she worshipped at St Mary’s, it would be expected he knew her well. As a counsellor and comforter to his parishioners, it is odd that in his opening words, he says nothing compassionate about Maria James, doesn’t speak of how horrible the murder was, or mention was a wonderful mother she was. Of course, this is conjecture and indeed he may have said such things in the interview, but they weren’t put to air.

One thing is certain, Victoria Police and the ABC need to make available to the Coroner all footage, interviews and recordings with Bongiorno — and it would surely be pertinent to formally engage professional linguists, analysts, verbal and body language experts and forensic psychologists to also assess all Bongiorno’s interviews.

Because Bongiorno seems needlessly on the defensive and may be covering up something, does not necessarily mean that he murdered Maria James. It may be that he is covering up for the murderer — or someone who knows the murderer.  


During a police interview, Father Bongiorno said that Maria James was a prostitute, servicing clients at the bookshop; ostensibly this was why she had a lock on the inside of her bedroom door and was on the pill. Let’s zoom in here. So what if she was a prostitute? Not that there is nothing to suggest she was, but that is not any justification for her murder. Or for not solving this cold case.

This victim-blaming – this "she was asking for it" and "she brought it on herself" – is a well-known characteristic of both the Catholic Church in slut-shaming women and, at times, the police. The same things were said about the two women victims of the Easey Street murderer(s).

These dirty tactics were used to sully the reputation of Eileen Piper’s daughter Stephanie, who suicided in 1994 after being slut-shamed and had her character trashed by her rapist, Father Gerard Mulvale, and the Catholic Church — even after she was dead.


Bongiorno also slut-shamed Maria James and called her out in Church, for god’s sake, in front of everyone for allegedly selling pornography in her bookshop. The stench of hypocrisy by these men is so overpowering. I can attest that in hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by paedophile priests and brothers, children are shown pornography to arouse them. It works well with lollies and alcohol.

And just where does Bongiorno get off? Here he is calling out single mum Maria James, and yet he’s already a sexual predator and sexually abused her son.

Here I should mention another notorious serial paedophile and parish-trafficked priest of St Mary’s, who is also a murder suspect and who had also abused Maria James’ son, Adam on the same day as Bongiorno — Father Thomas O’Keeffe. There is no end to it.

In her book on the indefatigable homicide squad detective, Rod Iddles, entitled The Good Cop, first published in July 2016, the prolificTV producer, journalist and true crime writer Justine Forddevotes a chapter entitled ‘OPEN FOR BUSINESS’ on the Maria James case.


She points out that James was "neither raped nor robbed". There were indentations on James’ face caused by the force of a metal potato masher. The use of the kitchen utensil, that clearly did not have the lethal consequences of the knife that was used in her murder, gives rise to all manner of scenarios.

In what must surely be regarded as an irresponsible imposition and superimposing contamination upon a murder crime scene, the investigating police actually had the audacity – some say stupidity – to set up a unit inside the James bookshop, in her living room and kitchen, using her appliances and utensils. What were they thinking? The police could just have easily set up a mobile van or even a tent in the backyard, for goodness sake.

As with the Easey Street murders, blood was splattered all over the place. Whereas I attended the scene of the Easey Street murders, I did not attend the murder scene at the Thornbury bookshop, although for decades I/my company maintained a comprehensive open investigation file(s) on the latter, which contained years of extensive interviews, documents and evidence gathering.


Curiously, two men who were implicated in the Maria James murder case ended up suiciding. To this day, there is still speculation about these suicides and of a church and police cover-up.

One of the men was a Telecom worker who lived in South Yarra and told police he regularly visited Maria James at the bookshop. According to Ford’s book, Ron Iddles is quoted as saying that although the suicide note did not reference Maria James, it discussed his talking with the homicide squad.

Where is that suicide note? What is the full text? Will it be given to the Coroner?

The second man, who suicided by gassing himself in his car and who was later eliminated as a result of DNA tests, was paedophile and psychopath, Peter Keogh.

In 1975, Keogh, described by a judge as "man of violence who committed outrageous indecencies", sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl. Twelve years later, kindergarten teacher Vicki Cleary was stabbed to death by Keogh, her ex-lover. It was yet another bloody murder of a woman. And most foul. As are they all.


Given that several years ago Victoria Police conceded there had been a bungle over the DNA material attributed to the Maria James murder scene (ditto the Easey St murders), community fears that there has been collusion between the church and police needs to be reinvestigated, hopefully by the Coroner, since we have had a surfeit of police investigating police in Victoria.

From the CathNews, 13 July 2017, this report:

The ABC's Trace podcast has been reinvestigating the murder for over a year, and recently became aware that an incorrect DNA sample had been used to rule out persons of interest in the case.


On presenting that information to authorities, the ABC was issued a statement by Victoria Police stating it had discovered "an error in the handling of an exhibit".

It should be remembered that, although Father Bongiorno in 1996 was acquitted of multiple charges of indecent assault involving three boys between 1981 and 1987, the victims were granted compensation by both State and Church tribunals/commissioners.

Whilst Bongiorno pleaded not guilty to all charges, serious and legitimate concerns have been raised about the conduct and strategy of the police prosecution. It is hoped that the Coroner will also investigate this aspect, which also reflects the Catholic Church’s knowing endorsement of paedophile priests.


Father Anthony Bongiorno was, incredibly, trafficked to other parishes after the Marie James murder, despatched first to Reservoir North and then Brunswick.

Father O’Connell died on 18 December 2016, outliving his murder suspect mate by 14 years.

Unlike the pontifical requiem mass said for O’Connell and the solemn burial ceremony afterwards, today Bongiorno’s corpse lays in an unmarked grave. Why would that be?

He died on 15 February 2002 and, true to Catholic paedophilic collegiality, much of the organising of the funeral service was organised by Father Graham Daniel Redfern who knows a lot about funerals. 


It was after he had conducted the last rites and the funeral service for a woman in 1976 that Father Graham Redfern sexually abused the woman’s grieving son, who had recently turned 18.

You can read here on the Broken Rites website, the squalid machinations of the Catholic Church and its hierarchy, which basically couldn’t have cared less about Father Redfern’s sexual abusing of the young man and contrary to what it had promised — and simply despatched him to new pastures.

How’s this for a damning but typically arrogant response from the Church. 

From an extensive report on Broken Rites:

Despite what occurred in 1976, the Archbishop was satisfied that it would not be in the public interest and that it would be unnecessary and unfair to exclude Fr Redfern from the ministry."


Early in his statement, Monsignor Prowse summarised Father Redfern's offence thus: "In 1976 Fr Redfern engaged in improper sexual conduct with an adult (aged 18 years and some months)."


However, Monsignor Prowse did not mention Mr O'Callaghan's ruling about the abuse of priestly power. Monsignor Prowse did not mention that the "improper sexual conduct" occurred after Fr Redfern conducted the Last Rites and Requiem Mass for the youth's mother.

The Maria James unsolved murder – like those of Susan Bartlett and Suzanne Armstrong – is an indictment not only on perhaps deliberately botched police investigations, but are also symptomatic of the seemingly fifth tier ranking and frustrating diffidence attributed to violent crimes against women.

In the case of Maria James, the power and influence of the Catholic Church and its overreach into politics and Victoria Police warrants further and intensive scrutiny.

Hopefully, the coronial investigation and inquest will bring independent justice to bear, not only for  Mark and Adam James, family members and friends but also for the wider community that, with good reason, has lost faith in the Church, institutions, politicians and police.

For those of us who are victims, family members, supporters, advocates activists, journalists, alike, in the fight for justice for the victims/survivors of crime and sexual abuse, this new year has begun in the same way as the old year ended.

Our work here is not yet done.

Please contact Tess Lawrence via Independent Australia if you have any information on the murders of Maria James, Susan Bartlett and/or Suzanne Armstrong.

  • Tess Lawrence has worked for the Christian Brothers. 
  • Tess Lawrence multimedia files on the Maria James case were illegally seized by the National Australia Bank and McKean Park Lawyers, their agents and representatives and she has not seen them since.
  • For an extraordinary backgrounding of the Maria James murder case, please listen to all of the Walkley award-winning podcasts of Trace, led by the ABC’s Rachael Brown. It is a triumph, and without question the contribution and collaboration with Mark and Adam James, these fine podcasts contributed to the new coronial investigation and pending inquest.
  • The diligence and intensive research of Broken Rites is saluted. So often the records of churches, institutions and courts are redacted, not posted at all and simply removed.
  • Both Tess Lawrence and Independent Australia acknowledge that writing about these hard issues can be distressing to everyone concerned, including, at times, the writers.
  • It is disappointing to learn that, as with the Easey Street murders, Victoria Police continues to be as unhelpful in exchanging and sharing information about the Maria James murder. So often, the announcing of rewards and re-opening of cold cases is simply a device used to enable the facile "we are unable to comment whilst the investigation is in progress".
  • Time and again citizen sleuths, podcasts and investigative journalists have helped to shed light upon cases — even solved them. Rod Iddles thankfully does not share the myopic "tell 'em nothin" attitude of some police, who should be utilising modern technologies and working with us, the community — not working against us.



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is it poor form to pray for an acquittal?...


Where they spy an unjust verdict, their honours are not afraid of a little trial by high court. The other day they sprang from prison a former Queensland policeman doing time for arson and insurance fraud after first picking over – and dismissing – evidence of burnt shoes and petrol stains. The judges have yet to write their judgments but they ordered the ex-cop released immediately.

Other issues the high court may take the opportunity to decide: when is an alibi an alibi; how much, if any, videotaped evidence should an appeal court watch; what does it mean these days to believe juries have an “advantage” over the judges reviewing their verdicts?

Is it poor form to pray for an acquittal? Perhaps. But how many hours, I wonder, has Pell spent in his cell contemplating his decision not to go in the box at his trial? It’s his right, of course, but how evasive he must have looked to those jurors: this mighty figure sitting there stumm, not denying the accusations, not exposing himself to questioning, while his accuser gave compelling evidence that he had, indeed, been raped.


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poor show from the mediocre media blaming the ABC...

Pell, the final verdict... Watch:



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an unwise good man...

good men...


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unhealthy, like priests?...

The largest national survey of the health of truck drivers has found widespread medical problems and psychological distress.

Key points:

  • Truck driver Frank Black says his biggest challenges have been keeping his weight down and maintaining relationships
  • Retired truck driver Jerry Brown-Barre says the industry is "all about money, and the drivers, they're secondary"
  • The Transport Workers' Union said drivers need access to healthier food and places to exercise

More than half of the 1,400 drivers surveyed were considered obese.

"Around 30 per cent of drivers had three or more diagnosed health conditions, which is more than four times that of the Australian population," researcher Dr Ross Iles said.

"One in three drivers who completed our survey reported lower back pain and one in four reported high blood pressure being diagnosed."

The survey was conducted by Monash University, supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and co-funded by the Transport Workers' Union, Linfox and the Centre for Work Health and Safety.

Dr Iles says while most research on the industry is focused on road safety, the survey and follow-up interviews decided to look at the overall health of truck drivers.



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vale george.........

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the death of Cardinal George Pell has come as a shock for many, but a clergy abuse survivor says the news will spark mixed emotions among other victims.

Key points:
  • The Catholic archbishops of Sydney and Melbourne were quick to mourn the Cardinal
  • However, not everyone has been complimentary
  • A senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University said the Cardinal's legacy would be "mixed"

Cardinal Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic, died on Tuesday in Rome aged 81, after complications during hip surgery.

Mr Albanese this morning expressed his condolences.

"Well, for many people, particularly of the Catholic faith, this will be a difficult day and I'll express my condolences to all those who are mourning today."

The Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, said worshippers were shocked. 

"Please pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Pell, for comfort and consolation for his family and for all of those who loved him and are grieving him at this time."