'Come Home (Cardinal Pell)' is a scathing attack on the former archbishop of Sydney, who will not return to Australia from Rome to answer an inquest's questions in person
Stand-up comedian and musician Tim Minchin has released a new single to raise money to fly sexual-abuse survivors from the Australian town of Ballarat, the centre of an extensive Catholic clerical abuse scandal, to Rome to face Cardinal George Pell, formerly the archbishop of Melbourne and of Sydney, who was excused from returning to Australia due to medical grounds.
The cardinal’s lawyers convinced the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat to allow the 74-year-old to answer questions via video-link, despite the objections of several of the survivors.
Ballarat, 110km northwest of the Victoria capital of Melbourne, has been linked to 130 substantiated claims of sexual abuse by 14 different Catholic priests since 1980. One, Gerald Risdale, a laicised Catholic priest, pleaded guilty to assaulting 40 boys and one girl across two Australian states between 1972 and 1990. Cardinal Pell grew up in Ballarat and at one point lived with Risdale, “one of the most prolific (and allegedly protected) paedophiles in Australian history,” Minchin writes on his website.
Minchin’s scathing song, all proceeds of which are going towards charities offering support to the survivors of clerical abuse, calls Cardinal Pell a coward from failing to return to his native Australia to face the commission.
The song, which has gone to number one in the iTunes charts, was first performed last night on Australian television, though Minchin – an Olivier Award-winner for his musical version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda – said that he had penned the song the previous week while attending the Perth International Arts Festival.
Entitled Come Home (Cardinal Pell), the song features Minchin singing the lines, “I mean, with all due respect dude, I think you are scum and I reckon you should come home Cardinal Pell,” among other insults levelled at the Cardinal.
The proceeds from the song will be used to fund the travel costs for some of the Ballarat survivors to travel to Rome to see Cardinal Pell give evidence to the commission on February 29th. Started by Australian comedian Meshel Laurie, the campaign has raised $164,000 AUD (€105,000).
You can watch Tim Michin perform the song in the video below: