Cardinal George Pell has backed away from a threat to sue Twitter for defamation over a comedian’s tweet.
The cardinal was furious when comic Catherine Deveny tweeted that he was involved in the “sexual abuse of young boys”.
His holy briefs General Counsel for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Jennifer Cook, requested Twitter remove the tweet on the basis it contained “unlawful, defamatory content”.
His holy briefs sent a couple of notes to Twitter which failed to act on them. So Cardinal Pell took them to court.
According to the Age it all started when Cardinal Pell, who is the Archbishop of Sydney, appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program for a debate with atheist Richard Dawkins.
Cardinal Pell evoked laughter from the audience when he said: “When in England, we were preparing some young English boys…for Holy Communion.”
Deveny tweeted a picture of Pell’s face surrounded by the partial quote: “When in England, we were preparing some young English boys”.
Pell’s lawyers said it was all taken out of context and implied gave the view that Cardinal Pell associated with the sexual abuse of young boys.
Things have since calmed down. A spokeswoman for Cardinal Pell said he was grateful that the tweet had now been removed and he would no longer be pursuing legal action. Forgiveness all around.
Deveny, who has more than 16,000 Twitter followers, issued a statement on her blog saying she apologised unreservedly for any hurt Cardinal Pell may have suffered and that she never intended to suggest he was a paedophile.