Daily Mail Thursday 25th April 2019

Qantas has cut Cardinal George Pell from its Chairman’s Lounge – described as ‘the most exclusive club in Australia’ – as he laungishes in jail for molesting choirboys.
For years Pell had been able to hobnob with movie stars, prime ministers and captains of industry while enjoying fine dining and expensive wines on the airline.
The Chairman’s Lounge is an invitation-only club for favoured Qantas customers who are treated to pre-flight massages, seat upgrades and personal service at all times.
Members, who do not pay any fees, simply call it ‘CL’.
It is so exclusive that Qantas will not confirm who is a member, how they are chosen or even how many members there are.

Qantas has cut Cardinal George Pell from its exclusive Chairman’s Lounge, described as ‘the most exclusive club in Australia’ as he languishes in jail for molesting choirboys in the 1990s

Designer furniture and leather lounges adorn the Chairman’s Lounges in each of Australia’s major airports, with top-shelf liquor and five-star food available. Pictured is the Sydney lounge

Pell was jailed in March for three years and eight months after being found guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 years and four charges of committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.
The offences were committed against two 13-year-old choirboys in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 when Pell was the newly-ordained Archbishop of Melbourne.
Pell, the third most senior cleric in the Catholic Church, has always denied the offences and has appealed against the convictions.
Qantas would not comment on the 77-year-old’s Chairman’s Lounge status but it was confirmed to Daily Mail Australia by independent sources he is no longer a member.
It is not known exactly when Qantas cut Pell’s privileges but airline insiders say Chairman’s Lounge membership is largely about ‘commercial relationships’ and a flyer’s expenditure.
The man formerly known as the Vatican’s treasurer will certainly not be flying anywhere for a while.
Losing his Chairman’s Lounge membership is another indignity for Australia’s most reviled clergyman.
After his convictions Pell was stripped of an honorary position as vice patron of the Richmond Football Club which he had held since 1997.

No need for public announcements: A Chairman’s Lounge host will walk up to a member and quietly inform them when their flight is ready to board. Pictured is the lounge in Melbourne

Qantas ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman and John Travolta are members of the Chairman’s Lounge, as are several high-profile media identities. Membership extends to partners

St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, where Pell boarded through the 1950s, removed his name from a building and dropped him as a ‘legend of the school’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated Pell would be stripped of his Companion of the Order of Australia, an honour granted in 2005, if he loses his appeal.

While Qantas does not reveal exactly how Chairman’s Lounge membership is bestowed, among its beneficiaries are politicians, judges and the chairs and chief executives of companies with major Qantas corporate accounts.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce once told Australian Business Traveller the Chairman’s Lounge was ‘probably the most exclusive club in the country.’
‘Membership is very sought after and it’s a great asset for Qantas to utilise for our commercial endeavours,’ Mr Joyce said.
Frequent flyer points will get customers benefits up to Platinum One status but will not gain entry to the Chairman’s Lounge.
It is assumed most or all federal MPs are invited to join, as are state premiers, the heads of major unions and the occasional senior cleric such as Pell.

‘Membership is very sought after and it’s a great asset for Qantas to utilise for our commercial endeavours,’ said Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce. Pictured is the lounge in Sydney

Qantas ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman and John Travolta are members, as are several high-profile media identities. Membership extends to partners.
Independent senator Fraser Anning said he had been stripped of his Chairman’s Lounge membership after he was censured by parliament for blaming Muslims for the Christchurch massacre.
Senator Anning had claimed immigration of ‘Muslim fanatics’ led to a white supremacist murdering 50 worshipers in two mosques on March 15 and that ‘while Muslims may have been victims today, usually they are the perpetrators.’

The Qantas chairman, currently Richard Goyder, signs off on two-year memberships to the lounge but there is a perception the Irish-born Catholic Mr Joyce controls who gets in the door.
Members are issued with a matte black card which can also give them priority treatment in other parts of airports such as at security scanners.
There are lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.
All are hidden behind smoked glass doors and are usually located near other Qantas lounges.
Inside, the bar opens early and flows freely with champagne and boutique beers.
There is an a la carte menu with table service and for some time the most popular meal has reportedly been the salt and pepper calamari with hot green sauce.
Helpful staff personally inform customers when their flight is ready – there is no need for public announcements.
One member told Business Insider: ‘It’s more like a retreat than anything else.’
Pell’s appeal against his conviction will be heard in June.

George Pell was jailed in March for three years and eight months for sexual penetration of a child under 16 years and committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.


Currently George Pell is, in the view of the law, a convicted paedophile and sex offender.

That may/may not change at his appeal.

The kind of people who patronise exclusive airport lounges would want to share their space with a sex offender.

It just shows you that when you fall from favour and grace people do not want want to know you any longer.

Of course if there is any possibility that Pell is innocent (I don’t believe he is) he is entitled to full due process..

At the moment being banned from airport lounges is the least of hus problems.

He might soon find himself a “layman”.



New Ways Ministry
24/04/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 24/04/2019 05:57


Fr. Pierre Valkering at the Mass where he came out as gay and announced his book
A Dutch bishop is refusing, at least temporarily, to speak to a priest of his diocese who came out as gay this spring. Meanwhile, the priest has written a letter to the bishop, to parishioners, and to others in the Church further explaining his decision to come out and to publish a book on his experiences.


Responding to Fr. Pierre Valkering’s coming out last month, the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam said Bishop Jos Punt would not meet with the priest until he has ‘finished his media campaign.’ The suspension of his priestly faculties would likewise remain in place until Valkering was, according to the diocese, ‘truly repentant’ and sought to ‘repair the damage he has done.’
Valkering’s coming out, coupled with the publication of a book in which the priest describes his experiences as a one-time sexually active gay priest, led to the suspension in late March.
To further explain his position, the priest posted a letter online to the bishop, parishioners, and others in the Church. He acknowledged that the book’s publicity came largely from his admission that he had had sexual encounters and relationships in earlier years. These items can be ‘confronting and shocking,’ he wrote, and could contribute to gay-negative stereotypes that provoke judgement. But Valkering clarified that he was now living a celibate life, and ‘would like to devote myself to it with all my heart, releasing everything which does not contribute to that.’
The real problem, according to Valkering, is the culture of untruthfulness which functions in the Church. He wrote:
‘What has become visible in my life has, in my opinion, everything to do with and is partly a symptom of ways of thinking and doing. . . I myself have clearly been untrue but untruthful is actually encouraged by how the church often ‘works.’ Because in order to be able to continue to cherish a certain ideal image of church and priesthood, so when the reality and truth of the lives of homosexual people and certainly those of homosexual priests is brought to light it is considered problematic. That reality and truth is often not or hardly allowed and would rather be left in the dark and withheld.’
This culture is, according to Valkering, what led him down mistaken paths. But now he stands ‘in the light and in the truth’ with his book, such that he is entirely transparent about his life. And it is precisely that openness which prompted such a stern and swift reaction on Bishop Punt’s part. In a secretive, clerical culture, Valkering writes that ‘openness becomes tackled, stealth is rewarded.’
Concluding his letter, Valkering said the pain caused by the events surrounding his coming out and book are hopefully leading the Church to ’emerge stronger and better’ together. In his own life, being open and authentic about his sexual identity and his life is ‘substantially better’ than before. But he apologized as well for ‘what I have done in His and in your eyes’ before ending with an appeal for Punt to reinstate him for Holy Week celebrations.
When news of Valkering’s coming out and book first appeared earlier this month, there were questions about whether or not he was presently committed to celibacy, which could help determine if the suspension was justified or not. Opinions from Bondings 2.0 readers and other observers were mixed. But these latest developments reveal a deeply unjust situation. Bishop Punt’s refusal to meet with a priest he is charged to support is unnecessarily disrespectful. Perhaps the bishop believes the suspension is pastorally necessary or in the priest’s best interests. We cannot know his intentions. But from the outside, the refusal to dialogue appears to be simply punitive.
Valkering’s honesty and authenticity are gifts to the Church. His courageous witness and the witnesses of other openly gay priests are precisely what a deeply broken Church strangled by clericalism, homophobia, and criminality needs. Catholics must stand with our beloved gay priests when they are unjustly treated by Church leaders like Bishop Punt.
Here are two ways you can stand with gay priests:
1. Spread the Wordabout New Ways Ministry’s upcoming retreat for gay priests, bishops, religious, and deacons, ‘All Are Welcome. Are All Welcome?’ with Fr. Peter Daly. Over the course of this retreat, attendees will be looking at a variety of questions pertinent to this moment in the Church, such as ‘Is my ministry welcomed by our church?’ The retreat is designed to assist attendees in developing better self-understanding, spirituality, friendships, and relationship with the institutional Church. For more information or to register, click here.
2. Sign ‘The Gift of Gay Priests Vocations,’ a campaign by New Ways Ministry to show our support for gay clergy and vowed religious who faithfully, dutifully, and effectively served the People of God and to call on church leaders to end the falsehoods about and lift the ban on gay priests. To add your name to this show of gratitude and solidarity, click here.
-Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, April 24, 2019