Editor's note

It’s been over two months since Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. But only yesterday could the media explicitly report the guilty verdict of December 11, 2018. This is because the courts had issued suppression orders preventing any reporting on proceedings involving Pell. Legal experts Michael Douglas and Jason Bosland explain the reasoning behind suppression orders, and why they were issued in this case. And they argue the public should have been told, by the courts, the reasons for the orders as they denied vital information about a significant, global figure.

And what now for the Catholic Church? As Andrew Singleton writes, Australian Catholics have steadily drifted from the church in recent years, in which sexual abuse scandals play no small part. Perhaps now the church will realise the need for genuine reform – and if rank and file Catholics, especially the young ones, have their way, that will include allowing priests to marry, changing attitudes to contraception, the ordination of women and empowering the laity.

Sasha Petrova

Deputy Editor, Politics & Society

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Anyone could easily discover Pell’s charges despite the suppression order – so what’s the point? DAVID CROSLING/AAP

We knew George Pell was guilty of child sex abuse. Why couldn’t we say it until now?

Michael Douglas, University of Western Australia; Jason Bosland, University of Melbourne

The public ought to be provided with a set of written reasons explaining why the court decided the suppression order was justified in the Pell trials.

A recent summit held by Pope Francis on preventing sexual abuse in the church has been criticised for being short on action. AAP/EPA/Giuseppe Lami

After Pell, the Catholic Church must undergo genuine reform

Andrew Singleton, Deakin University

Australian Catholics are drifting from the church, and research shows sexual abuse scandals are a main reason why.

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