Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of historical sexual assault offences.
Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of historical sexual assault offences. MASSIMO PERCOSSI

Why I'll never go to church again


THIS week we've seen a side of religion at its most ugly.

Cardinal George Pell became international news after being found guilty of sexual offences against young choirboys while serving as Melbourne's archbishop.

At St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996, then newly installed as Archbishop of Melbourne, Pell sexually molested a 13-year-old choirboy.

He exposed and pleasured himself, still dressed in his ornate ceremonial robes. He then raped and abused the boy's 13-year-old friend.

This was the ultimate act of betrayal from a man who was supposed to be a world leader.

While I knew the sentencing was coming, it literally made my jaw drop.

The Catholic Church has let behaviour like this fester for too long. The time of turning deaf ears must stop and retribution must be swift.

I was raised Catholic and attended church every Sunday - like my parents and grandparents before me.

In bid to keep myself and my brothers under control, we even took part in the ceremonies as altar boys.

In my early teens I stopped going to church, simply because I found it boring.

Throughout my 20s I would go sporadically at best, sometimes only going for Easter or Christmas services.

Cardinal Pell's sinister deeds do not sum up Australian or Catholic priests, and I certainly never had a bad experience.

In fact, the Brisbane priest was only ever warm and kind to every parishioner. He was someone of counsel and leadership.

Now, the very thought of going to church puts me on edge.

I don't think I will ever go again.

I still believe in a higher power, but for me, I don't think going to church makes you a better person.

Just be kind.