ᔥ Sydney Morning Herald
It seems Australia’s head of the Catholic Church is a bit touchy on the subject of boy buggering. He has tried to sue Twitter and a blogger for a tweet…note that even in the apology the blogger kicks Pell in the slats on the way through. NFWAB.
A THREAT by Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell to sue Twitter for defamation over an offensive tweet by the Melbourne blogger Catherine Deveny has revealed the increasing threat social media poses to the reputations of public figures.
While Cardinal Pell last night dropped his threat to sue over the tweet – which falsely suggested he condoned the sexual abuse of young boys – there was a call for the nation’s defamation laws to be updated to reflect the new influence of social media.
On Monday, Deveny posted a lengthy apology and retraction on her website after receiving an email from Twitter’s legal department, alerting her to the threat.
During a Q&A debate on ABC on the existence of God last month, Cardinal Pell paused after saying: ”We were preparing young English boys … ” before adding ”for Holy Communion”.
The studio audience erupted in laughter at the unfortunate pause and the comment went viral on Twitter. Minutes later, Deveny retweeted a Twitpic poster, which she said her 16,326 followers would ”love”. It showed Pell’s face on a mock flag saying, ”We were preparing young English boys”, and omitting the clarifying words, ”for Holy Communion”.
Following the legal threat, Deveny, who has more than 16,000 Twitter followers, issued an apology on her blog for any hurt Cardinal Pell may have suffered, insisting she never intended to suggest he was a paedophile.
“Clearly it was significant enough hurt and embarrassment caused for him to lawyer up and spend the Catholic Church’s money to pursue defamation action against Twitter and me,” she wrote.
“There must have been deep deliberation over the decision to spend thousands of dollars of parishioners’ money on legal fees.
“Spending money that could have been spent feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless or alleviating suffering, instead of on defamation litigation, clearly illustrates how serious the breach I allegedly committed was in the eyes of Cardinal Pell.”
Deveny noted many other Twitter users had distributed the image and called on Cardinal Pell to “forgive” her.