Hi! My charity song, Come Home (Cardinal Pell), has had a pretty surprising impact in Australia. I’ve had a lot of requests for interviews and comments, but have so far refused them all. The song says what I wanted to say.
However, today, as survivors head to Rome, I have released the following statement:
Many very serious questions remain about George Pell’s conduct as a leader of an institution that failed to curb decades of rampant child sexual abuse within its hallowed walls. This failure has resulted in hundreds of innocent people suffering lifelong emotional and physical damage. A shocking number have committed suicide.
Whilst his actions and appearance suggest a man in good health, Pell asserts that he is too ill to travel to Australia to answer these questions at the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.
And so today, thanks to the generosity of the Australian public, fifteen Ballarat Survivors will fly to Rome. They would not have been able to afford to do so without you.
These incredibly brave men and women will sit in a room with George Pell while he gives evidence via video-link to the Royal Commission. We hope that he will look them in the eye and tell them everything he knew.
Even if his only crime was willful blindness, a personal act of acknowledgement and contrition from this man is profoundly important for survivors. (Read Dr Judy Courtin in The Age, Dec 15, 2015)
I personally believe it would be appropriate for him to get on his knees and wash their feet.
I have great admiration for the survivors and their loved ones who have campaigned for years to have their voices heard. They have fought against a hugely wealthy institution that has a vested interest in quieting and discrediting them. (Pell’s lawyer reportedly costs $20,000.00 per day).
To the many survivors of abuse from all over the country who have written to me since the song came out, thank you so much for taking the time. Your messages have made me smile and cry… and feel just so angry for you. Please know that you are heard.
Thank you also to those who have shared the song. You’ve amplified the voices of the downtrodden, and have helped raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars for survivors.
To Gorgi Coghlin and Meshel Laurie, thank you for your advocacy, for setting up the Send Survivors to Rome fundraising page, and for pushing me to get off my bum and write the song.
To those who were outraged by the judgmental language in Come Home, you must understand: this is the language of anger. I owe George Pell no reverence beyond that which he has earned through his words and deeds. I, and many other Australians, are angry.
If you don’t understand why, perhaps it’s just a failure of imagination. Perhaps you need to picture one of the victims as your 9-year-old son or daughter?
Proceeds from “Come Home (Cardinal Pell)” will continue to be donated to the survivors of clerical abuse. You can buy the song here (as well on other platforms)
You can also now purchase the video here.