Andrew Bolt And Miranda Devine Are Furiously Defending George Pell Because Of Course They Are


Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine defend George Pell

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Two of Australia’s most prominent newspaper columnists, Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine, have written spirited defences of convicted paedophile George Pell, that their employer News Corp saw fit to publish. Just let that sink in for a moment.

Warning: this article discusses sexual and child abuse. 

Cardinal George Pell, the highest ranking Australian in the Catholic church, was convicted in December of orally raping a 13 year old choir boy and molesting another in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 and 1997.

The media was previously unable to report on the conviction due to a suppression order designed to protect the integrity of a second trial relating to allegations that Pell abused boys in a swimming pool in Ballarat in the 1970s. The suppression order was lifted on Tuesday after prosecutors decided not to go ahead with the second trial due to a lack of admissable evidence.

As a result, Pell’s conviction can now be reported — or, in Bolt’s case, whinged about.

In a staggering article titled ‘Why Pell Has Been Falsely Convicted’, Bolt declared that Pell was “a scapegoat”, an opinion he has apparently formed based on “overwhelming evidence”.

“George Pell is a scapegoat, not a child abuser, in my opinion,” wrote Bolt. “[He] has been made to pay for the sins of his church and a media campaign of vilification.”

Bolt goes on to point to a number of issues that were raised by Pell’s defence team during the trial — such as the fact that the room where the abuse took place was often busy, and the fact that the victims didn’t report the abuse at the time — as evidence of the cardinal’s innocence.

Moreover, Bolt insisted that “the man I know seems not just incapable of such abuse, but so intelligent and cautious that he would never risk his brilliant career and good name on such a mad assault in such a public place”.

Of course, the fact that Bolt finds it hard to believe that a man he personally liked could also be a rapist and child molester doesn’t mean it isn’t true. That’s something that his colleague Devine also had trouble accepting, as she made clear in a column describing the verdict as “devastating”.

“It’s devastating because I don’t believe that Pell, who I know slightly and admire greatly, could be guilty of sexually assaulting two choirboys in a busy cathedral after Sunday mass,” she wrote. “The verdict is devastating, too, because of what it says about the fallibility of our justice system, although after Lindy Chamberlain, we know the power of irrational mobs to prevent justice.”

After suggesting that the jury may not have been impartial “after the campaign of vilification against Pell over the past two decades and the carefully orchestrated drip feed of lurid allegations by Victoria police to selected media”, Devine went on to suggest the reason for the vitriol against Pell was not the allegations of abuse, but rather his status as a high ranking conservative member of the church.

“While fellow Catholics crumbled and appeased, [Pell] unequivocally defended Church teachings and refused to compromise over gay marriage, euthanasia, abortion or wedge issues such as communion for divorcees,” she wrote. “You can’t help but feel that Cardinal Pell is being punished for the sins of his church, which are foul, but not his doing.”

This sentiment was echoed by Bolt, who suggested Pell may have been targeted with false allegations because he has been “vilified” by the media “ever since he emerged as the Church’s most articulate – and conservative – advocate in this country”.

While deeply disturbing, it’s not that surprising that Bolt and Devine have taken this position, given all the articles they both wrote prior to Pell’s conviction complaining about the trial and the supposed bias against the cardinal.

Both columnists have been heavily criticised on social media for defending a convicted paedophile. Go figure.

Pell is facing a pre-sentencing hearing in Melbourne today, where he is expected to apply for bail. He is appealing his conviction.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000.

Men can access anonymous confidential telephone counselling to help to stop using violent and controlling behaviour through the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.