I mourn not George Pell but the church that he failed

Credit:Cathy Wilcox

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George Pell

Your editorial mentions that George Pell’s achievements are tainted by his failings (12/1). My grief is not about his death, but about the failure of the church to move forward and remain relevant in a changing world under his leadership. The man saw himself as irreproachable, and his failings are about him presenting his image of God as judgmental and uncompromising, just like himself.
Julie Ottobre, Sorrento

One man unfairly blamed for church’s sins
Can everyone please stop dancing on Cardinal Pell’s grave? The poor man has carried the whole can of clerical sexual abuse despite not a shred of evidence that he was culpable either by act or omission.

The highest court in Australia unanimously rejected all charges brought against him. Not only that but he was the first to address the pain and suffering of victims by the Melbourne Response and other actions. But I guess the haters are always gonna hate.
Helen Leach, Bendigo

Dutton’s attack is wayward
Peter Dutton said the cardinal’s year in prison “should provide some cause for reflection for the Victorian Labor government and its institutions” (“Pell a victim of ‘political persecution’, says Dutton”, 12/1). Dutton is, as with most issues, sadly out of step with reality.

The prosecution of George Pell was undertaken by the police and DPP at arms length of government as it should be. In fact, if the government had interfered with this, or any, prosecution, Dutton would be first to scream blue murder about it.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

Disturbing attack on Victoria
There has been no shortage of comments on Pell’s life and legacy from both sides. But most disturbing are the reported comments of Peter Dutton. Summing up Pell’s legal trials as “modern day political persecution”, he goes on to decry the “Victorian justice system”. These are disturbing claims, lacking in any evidence.

This is not the first time Dutton has questioned the Victorian courts as when he railed against the “African gangs” making people afraid to go to restaurants and “the jokes of sentences being handed down” due to “political correctness”.
Max Nankervis, Middle Park

Upholding values
Pell was simply an effective senior executive in a multinational corporation. He upheld their corporate ethos. Prime aim being maintaining image by the use of power, denials, and adherence to selfish ideals. While Pell upheld the business model, the organisation’s founder may have been less impressed with the lack of adherence to his statements of core values.
Lance Fishman, Upwey

Acknowledgment gratefully received
Thanks to Dan Andrews for your public acknowledgment and support of survivors of child sexual abuse. For the survivors of past and present abuse by those who should protect you: You are seen, you are heard, you are loved and you are believed. “Suffer little children” indeed.
Caryn Auld, Point Cook

Republican representative
I am surprised at Miles Pattenden describing Pell as a “fan of monarchy” (Comment, 12/1). He was, like many with Irish heritage, a fan of an Australian Republic and, indeed, was a leading republican participant in John Howard’s 1998 Australian Constitutional Convention.
Peter Price, Southbank

Closure not so easy to attain
I am saddened by the letter “A small step to closure” (12/1). As a retired psychiatric nurse I am doubtful that “closure” is a word that child abuse survivors use. It affects many generations in their family if and when the victim is able to ever trust an intimate partner. The community will never understand the enormous ramifications.
Maree Williams, Kew

THE FORUM

Camp compensation
As a former teacher, I attended many five-day school camps. My colleagues and I clearly understood we were on duty 24 hours a day from the Monday morning to the Friday afternoon that these necessary learning experiences for students provided (“State school camps in balance as union fights overtime”, 11/1). It was called duty of care and department bureaucrats should understand that and compensate teachers accordingly.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool

Grounds for balance
Wouldn’t it be great if the wealthy private school sector could offer their camp facilities for free use by public schools. Let’s say 10 public school camps per year per private school. Maybe throw in free access to swimming and other sports in the private campus pools and grounds. Might go some way towards redressing the funding imbalance currently skewed heavily in favour of independent schools.
Philippa Harrison, Somers

Invitation open
Anthony Albanese, I believe you had a private meeting with Lindsay Fox (“PM, the premier and a billionaire’s barbie”, 12/ 1). I would love to have a private meeting with you and discuss a few issues: e.g. our relationship with the US, refugees, the challenges of climate change, initiatives to work for a more peaceful and equitable world, the proposed Voice to Parliament, public ownership of vital infrastructure and other assets… just to name a few! Unfortunately I don’t own a helicopter, but I could pick you up from the local station and offer you tea/coffee and biscuits. Sadly I am not much of a cake maker. The invitation is alway open.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading

Spare some compassion
Thank you Julia Baird for an appropriate, humane response to a sad situation (“Miserable beardlet or hurt child?” 11/1). Anybody who has experienced trauma (an adulterous parental divorce, tragic loss of mother aged 12, active service overseas etc) – and so publicly documented over a lifetime – deserves a compassionate and empathetic response, not a crucifixion. Given the media reaction I’m inclined to believe Harry’s claims have merit and will now be purchasing a copy of Spare.
Michael Smith, Essendon West

History of hurt
Thank you Julia Baird for your insight into the minds of bereaved children, especially those who don’t receive the love and assistance they need in the aftermath. Many people are piling on outrage and judgment of Prince Harry’s allegedly hurtful behaviour towards the royal family without considering the many examples of hurt experienced by some royals because of the late Queen’s decisions.

Many hearts were broken, lives disrupted, and happiness denied by the Crown’s rulings or influence. Think of the media frenzy around the Duke of Windsor’s decision to choose Wallis Simpson over the Crown, Princess Margaret’s relationship with her equerry Peter Townsend, the treatment of Princess Diana because of the complicit acceptance by the Queen of Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla. Now it is Harry and Meghan’s turn, for not conforming. Remember that the Queen had to be advised by prime minister Tony Blair to finally appear in public after Diana’s death and to show empathy instead of the “stiff upper lip”.

Full marks to Harry for his growing awareness of his PTSD, addressing it and now being able to talk about it. May the publication of his book help others traumatised in childhood and give them the incentive to tackle the effects of this insidious hurt.
Anne Carroll, Brighton East

Real news
The media is doing us all a disservice by concentrating on a certain autobiography that has just been published rather than bringing us coverage on what is happening to the million-plus Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the famine and war in Yemen, refugees in Australia still on temporary protection visas and so much more. When will we get back to real news coverage and not entertainment and pandering to celebrities?
Peta Colebatch, Hawthorn

Deeper thinking
A recent autobiography by Harry Mountbatten-Windsor has generated a lot of media attention. I have not read it, but I gather that much of it deals with the character of members of his family. This family includes the British monarch, who is also Australia’s head of state.

Hopefully this autobiography will lead Australians to think more deeply about why we are still a constitutional monarchy. And it is really irrelevant whether the current or future monarchs are of good character or not.

If the people of Great Britain truly want a hereditary head of state, who commands vast wealth and property, that is their concern. But for Australians, having a monarch from a foreign country as head of state beggars belief.
Andrea Bunting, Brunswick

Money grab
Harry wants the life of a royal but doesn’t want to do the work. He is not qualified to do much else to bring in the big bucks, so what can he do but “tell all”? I have no interest in his sibling rivalry or perceived slights from the rest of his family. I certainly won’t buy his book to support the lifestyle he wants. Obviously Meghan’s desire to be an “influencer” isn’t raking in the cash.
Heather Dufty, Nhill

Tax free riders
Regarding the proposal by the Health Services Union that they should be able to charge employees for wage deals if they are non-members (12/1), and contrary complaints that people should not be forced to join a trade union, a reasonable compromise might be for all employees to be offered an option to either pay for union membership or pay an equivalent tax to the federal government for the benefits they gain from union action.
Wayne Cook, Clayton

Do it themselves
It is only fair that the pay rises and other benefits of hard-won enterprise agreements negotiated by unions only go to those paid-up, registered union members. Those who do not belong to the union and are therefore not a party to the any registered EBA should seek their own bargained pay rise and benefits.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn

Much to regret
Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he deeply regrets gross human rights violations committed in Indonesia in the past (“Widodo vows reconciliation on atrocities”, 12/01) He may want to also include in his regrets, human rights atrocities committed by Indonesia, outside of Indonesia, including but not limited to, the murder of six journalists (including the Balibo Five) in East Timor in 1975, and the ongoing rape, torture and genocide of the indigenous people in Irian Jaya (West Papua).
George Greenberg, Malvern

Unfair advantages
Rents are soaring in a landlords market and the advantage of a drop in property values is being offset by increased interest rates (“Melbourne rents soar to record high, up 20 per cent”, 12/1). This is the penalty for allowing aspirational investors to have unfair financial advantages over equally aspirational first home buyers and renters who just want the basic essential human need of having a secure roof over their head. Housing investment policy must change to reduce the inequality.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South

Rise above
I having long been contemptuous of Novak Djokovic appearing to feign injuries and illnesses and of his excessive ball bounces when serving, to unsettle competitors, not to mention Djokovic’s seeming contempt for others with his current attitude to vaccinations. But please, don’t allow us to sink to Djokovic’s level of sportsmanship with our crowd behaviour towards him. It would only diminish the wondrous athletes – our own players and international guests – at the Australian Open.
Howard Hutchins, Chirnside Park

A series to inspire
We read that the Formula 1 is using the Netflix series, Drive to Survive to regenerate interest in Grand Prix racing (The Age, 10/1), that professional tennis has its own series, Break Point, and that cricket is being promoted in The Test. The Formula 1 series should inspire the creation of a new program on Melbourne’s Formula 1 Grand Prix called Drive to Deprive.

There could be episodes on a major public park deprived of its peace and quiet, deprived of the ability to plant more trees to combat climate change, deprived of the prospect of redevelopment according to its master plan, sports clubs deprived of their grounds for months, and a list of the public services (such as social housing) deprived of the funding directed to staging the Grand Prix event.
Peter Goad, Save Albert Park, Middle Park

Wider problem
The headline “53K Compo for staring at breasts” (11/1) demeans and undermines both the victim in this matter and the tribunal. Your headline did precisely what the tribunal member warned against when she declined to “trivialise the conduct”. The article clearly outlines that the conduct of the employer and the manager was not confined to “staring at breasts” but included actions by the employer to punish the victim when she complained rather than dealing with the perpetrator. This type of response to sexual harassment and discrimination is all too common in the workplace and your headline compounds the damage.
Julius Roe, Albert Park

Say it right
Your correspondent (Letters, 12/1) mentions the “impordance” of proper pronunciation of the letter “t”. To this I would add other transgressions. Years ago, we apparently had a prime minister “Paul Keading”, and every year they cover the “Melbourne Riders’ Festival”, leaving me wondering do they mean horses or bicycles?
Jim Picot, Altona

And another thing

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

George Pell
“Pell spent the final year of his life contesting a lawsuit” (“Pell dies, division lives on” 12/1). The same may be accurately said of countless childhood victims of the Catholic Church.
Michelle Goldsmith, Eaglehawk

St Peter at the Gates. “Well George, what have you got to say for yourself?”
Graham Fetherstonhaugh, Carlton North

Dutton thinks Pell was being persecuted. At least he was at one time found guilty. Assange rots on remand: that’s “modern-day political persecution”.
Angus McLeod, Cremorne

Two things we know following the death of George Pell. One; many prominent Australians continue to support him. Two; the Catholic Church continues to wither and die. Two things, not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Tim Habben, Hawthorn

I’m sorry Barney Zwartz, your idea of “integrity ” and mine do not align.
Jackie Sherwood, Urangan, Qld

As a humanist, I don’t often share Barney Zwartz’s views. However, I enthusiastically take my hat off to him for a lucid, balanced assessment of a complicated conservative prelate.
Mirna Cicioni, Brunswick East

Prince Harry
Harry’s soul-selling autobiography has been flying off the shelves in Britain but most Australians are giving it a wide berth (The Age, 12/1)? It’s things like this that make me proud to be an Aussie.
John Howes, Rowville

Harry went on Stephen Colbert’s talk show and was cheered on by the audience. He’s finally found his home and looked at peace – happy and charming. It’s a side I’ve never seen in any British media.
Melina Smith, Brighton

Finally
When inducting Jeff Beck into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Jimmy Page said Jeff could do things on the guitar that “we mere mortals could only dream of.” RIP.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

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