The Pell case: lessons for Church and state

Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO, Distinguished Fellow of the PM Glynn Institute and Rector of Newman College at the University of Melbourne, delivered the 16th annual St Thomas More Lecture in Canberra on 25 June 2021, on the topic ‘The Pell case: lessons for Church and state’.

The lecture draws on Fr Brennan’s collection of articles and writings about the case, Observations on the Pell proceedings, which was published earlier this year by Connor Court.

At the conclusion of his lecture, Fr Brennan said:

“So, the big lesson is – look, the media will continue that, you know, all sorts of intimations about Pell’s guilt or whatever – there is no doubt that he’s innocent. There’s no doubt that he was made a scapegoat. And there is no doubt that what we need, is the church does need the state to deal with these issues, but the state needs to act honourably, and state officials need to do their job. And when they don’t everybody suffers huge and lasting trauma. Mr J [the complainant] was put through two years of additional trauma where the most basic of policing would have put him out of his angst about all that he was then put through. And so, I think these are the lessons for church and state from the Pell saga”.

You can watch a video of the lecture at the link below;

Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO, “The Pell Saga: Lessons for Church and State”, the 16th Annual St Thomas More Lecture.

The map of St Patrick’s Cathedral to which Fr Brennan refers in his lecture is also available;

St Patricks Cathedral Map (PDF, 2.3MB).

Transcript: Lessons for Church and State from the Pell Saga: The 2021 St Thomas More Lecture

See also "Anatomy of a Travesty" by Fr Brennan, published in the Catholic Weekly on 3 September 2021, and his accompanying interview with the Catholic Weekly on the case.


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