Sydney Archbishop's uncomfortable message about Cardinal Pell at Sunday mass, & more in News in 5.

— With AAP

1. Sydney Archbishop’s uncomfortable message about Cardinal Pell at Sunday mass.

The Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher has urged Catholic worshippers not to “draw any conclusions” following Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for child sexual abuse.

The Archbishop urged a mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday morning not to be “too quick to judge” and said church readings can show that things are not always what they seem.

“As the Cardinal’s matter is ongoing in the courts I cannot comment on the substance,” he said, the ABC reported.

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“Others have done so and some have raised serious questions for the appellate court to examine. If we are too quick to judge, we can end up joining the demonisers or the apologists, those baying for blood, or those in denial.

“Our readings remind us that things are not always what they seem, that we must look beneath the surface, and allow truth and justice to unfold in God’s good time.”

Archbishop Fisher said the Catholic Church had a lot to do in order to recover from “this dark chapter”.

“Many feel disheartened and are uncertain how to go on believing, worshipping, living the Christian gospel. Indeed some are not even sure they want to.”

He acknowledged the community was shaken by “reports about the shameful actions or inactions of church people towards children and vulnerable adults”.

“Apart from the terrible harm this does to the victims, who are our first concern, we also know it undermines people’s faith and trust.

“Followers of Christ must reverence every human person, especially the most vulnerable; we must welcome the truth however confronting it might be.”

Priests across Australia publicly addressed Pell’s conviction during their first Sunday masses since it became public.

The Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Conemsoli said the church had been “grievously wounded from the evil of sexual abuse,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe did not speak about Pell during his sermon, but handed out a letter to worshippers at the end of mass.

His letter, obtained by the ABC, acknowledged Pell’s ongoing appeal and stated Costelloe would not make any comments until the legal process has been completed.

“I have come to the firm conviction that in order not to inflame the situation and be seen as trying to prejudice the outcome of the appeal process I should not make any comments… It is more appropriate for me to do my best to provide some support to the Catholic people of our Archdiocese who are all suffering in the present circumstances.”


2. Homes destroyed and thousands of Victorians forced to flee their homes amid bushfires.

Thousands of Victorians have been forced to flee their homes as bushfires rage in the east of the state.

Four major fires at Bunyip, Budgeree, Dargo and Licola forced residents to flee as it neared their homes.

Tonimbuk resident Tina Forte fears her home, which has been at her family since the 1800s, has been lost.

“I’m just really worried about the animals because we just had to run yesterday,” she told reporters on Sunday.

“We don’t sleep, we don’t care about our house we care about our livestock,” she said.

Longwarry North woman Kiery-Anne Clissold said it was a hard decision to leave her home, but it was the right decision.

“You could see flames hundreds of feet high across the whole ridge and it’d just woosh up and the flames were reaching for the sky,” she said of the Bunyip blaze.

But others chose to stay and fight as the blazes got closer.

Garfield man Steven Clarke was keeping watch on the blaze from his property and will plan to stay into the night despite the wind picking up.

He had earlier said smoke had blocked out the sun on Saturday with ash and burnt leaves raining down on his property.


“We have not seen the sun all day,” Mr Clarke said.

Drouin West pub owner Frank Gibbons told reporters he had been fully booked because of people who had fled the fires.

“Last night we had pretty much all the rooms booked … I reckon they might be sleeping on the bloody pool tables tonight,” he said on Sunday.

He owns the Robin Hood Inn and survived the Black Saturday bushfires which decimated Victorian communities ten years ago.

“I never thought I’d have to do this again,” he said as he hosed down the pub.

“This year’s probably a little bit different to ten-years-ago … a lot of people stopped and fought the fires, and I think that they’ve sort of thought ‘bugger that, we’re not going through that hell again we’ll get out’, Mr Gibbons said.

At a press conference alongside Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp, Premier Daniel Andrews told people to follow warnings from authorities.

“Don’t put yourself in harm’s way and potentially add to the already considerable workload our firefighters have,” he said.

There are about 19 fires still burning across Victoria.

The hot and windy conditions are expected to linger until Wednesday.

3. Man charged following hit and run which left a 12-year-old boy dead in Sydney’s north west.

A man has been denied release after he allegedly fled a crash in northwest Sydney that killed a boy and left a woman and young girl fighting for life.


Police say the man was driving a Holden Commodore that hit six stationary cars as he was exiting the M2 in Baulkham Hills about 7pm on Saturday.

A 12-year-old boy in a Holden Captiva died at the scene, while a 36-year-old woman and a five-year-old girl were taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The driver of the Captiva, a 38-year-old man, was taken to hospital for assessment. They are believed to be all from the same family.

The driver of another car, a 65-year-old man, and his passenger, a 58-year-old woman, were taken to hospital with minor injuries. The occupants of another four cars escaped unhurt but the drivers were taken to hospital for mandatory testing.

“The only way to describe the crash scene is absolutely horrific. We have had to cut five people out of their vehicles,” Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector Kernin Lambert told The Daily Telegraph.

“It was an extremely severe collision. People have been fighting for their lives. We have been trying to keep people alive.”

One witness told the paper he believed the man had been speeding when he went into the exit.

A major police search was initiated including the use of PolAir and the dog unit to track down the driver of the Holden Commodore after he allegedly ran from the scene.

The 34-year-old man was arrested at a house at Narraweena, on Sydney’s northern beaches, just before 3.30am on Sunday.

He was charged with 10 offences including dangerous driving occasioning death, failing to stop after a fatal crash and speeding more than 45 km/h over the limit.

He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused at Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday.

He was ordered to reappear again on Monday.

Meanwhile, a motorcyclist died after hitting a kangaroo near Wellington in the state’s central west.

Police believe the motorcyclist fell off his bike after hitting the kangaroo on Saturday night on Goolma Road, Spicers Creek, about 36km northeast of Wellington. The man died at the scene.

4. Malaysia open to resuming hunt for missing MH370 flight.


Malaysia’s transport minister says the government is open to new proposals from US technology firm Ocean Infinity or any other companies to resume the hunt for Flight 370, as families of passengers marked the fifth anniversary of the jet’s mysterious disappearance.

Ocean Infinity mounted a “no cure, no fee” search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean in January 2018 that ended in May without any clue on where it could have crashed. But the company’s CEO, Oliver Plunkett, said in a video shown at the public remembrance event at a mall near Kuala Lumpur that the company hopes to resume the hunt with better technology it obtained in the past year.

The Ocean Infinity mission came a year after an official search by Malaysia, Australia and China ended in futility.

Plunkett said his company has better technology now after successfully locating an Argentinian submarine in November, a year after it went missing. He said the firm is still reviewing all possible data on Flight 370 and thinking about how it can revive its failed mission.

“We haven’t given up hope. … We hope we can continue the search in due course,” Plunkett said.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said it’s been frustrating that the two searches failed to produce any clues and that he “welcomes credible leads and also concrete proposals to resume the search.”

He told reporters later Sunday that the government is “waiting for specific proposals, in particular from Ocean Infinity.” He brushed off suggestions of offering rewards to find the plane, but said the government is willing to discuss proposals from any companies prepared to resume the search.

“There must be a proposal from a specific company … we cannot just be out there without credible leads. That’s the most practical thing to do,” Loke said.

The plane vanished with 239 people on board on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Confirmed debris that washed ashore in the western Indian Ocean helped narrow the search area where Ocean Infinity focused, but it failed to uncover any evidence.


A Malaysian-led independent investigation report released last July showed lapses in the government’s response and raised the possibility of “intervention by a third party.”

Investigators, however, said the cause of the disappearance cannot be determined until the wreckage and the plane’s black boxes are found. The report reiterated Malaysia’s assertion that the plane was deliberately diverted and flown for over seven hours after severing communications.

But it said there was no evidence of abnormal behaviour or stress in the two pilots that could lead them to hijack the plane. All the other passengers were also cleared by police and had no pilot training.

Voice 370, a support group for next-of-kin, expressed hope that the new government that won a general election in May last year will do more to encourage search missions and seek new clues.

5. A second dingo has been put down on Fraser Island following an attack.

A second dingo has been put down on Fraser Island after an attack on French tourists on Thursday night.

A mother and son were mauled after a pack of dingoes chased them as they ran to get back to their car at Eurong Beach.

After capturing and euthanising one of the dingoes responsible on Saturday, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers on Sunday put down a second, in consultation with the traditional owners.