Latest posts by Toni Hoffman (see all)

This week’s charges against Cardinal Pell made me reflect upon how we view the world. I was shocked even though I had followed the case closely, shocked to believe that someone who has reached such a pinnacle in his life could be accused of something so evil. I know I shouldn’t be shocked when we look at the history of the Catholic Church, but I don’t understand the whole concept of how some people can think its ok to preach one thing and do another. It made me reflect upon how we judge people and how easy it is to judge someone and the bias that we use when making judgements, everyone has an opinion, and sometimes the opinion is based on personal experience, on religion, social norms or political persuasion.

Sometimes it’s based on something irrational like a mannerism the person may have that you don’t like.  If you think about how we decide on someone’s innocence or guilt, all of these factors can play a part. I know what it’s like to be accused of something that is untrue and to feel powerless to prove the truth.

Throughout the whole Patel saga in Bundaberg I had been accused of many things that were all untrue and I watched as others perpetuated these untruths for whatever reason. Maybe they didn’t like me, maybe they believed I was not being truthful, maybe they believed a Dr couldn’t do any wrong.

It wasn’t until Patel’s history was discovered by the journalist Hedley Thomas that the tide changed and people began to think that I wasn’t exaggerating or I didn’t have a vendetta or maybe there could be truth in the detail. I remember the feeling very well, about what it was like to feel that it didn’t make any difference what you said, no-one was going to believe you. People are motivated by other things as well, by greed and the lure of monetary gain, they are motivated by hatred and jealousy.

I hope that our court systems can weed this out and test this in court. I don’t have an opinion on whether Cardinal Pell is guilty or not, I will base my opinion on the facts that come out in court. If he is guilty he needs to hang his head in shame and be held accountable for the lives he has ruined. If he is not, he is an elderly man accused of horrendous crimes with the burden of proof upon him.

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