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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cardinal Won’t Sue Twitter

Cardinal George Pell has finally backed away from his promise to sue Twitter for defamation over a comedian’s tweet. He became furious after he saw comic Catherine Deveny tweet saying that the cardinal was involved in the “sexual abuse of young boys”. His holy briefs General Counsel for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Jennifer Cook, demanded that Twitter remove this message as it contained “unlawful, defamatory content”.

Jennifer Cook sent a few notes to Twitter, asking to remove the message, but the service failed to act on them. As such, Cardinal Pell decided to take them to court. Local media pointed out that everything started when Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, showed up on the ABC’s Q&A program to discuss the issues with atheist Richard Dawkins. The former evoked laughter from the audience when saying “When in England, we were preparing some young English boys...for Holy Communion”.

Catherine Deveny posted a picture of the cardinal’s face surrounded by the incomplete quote, saying “When in England, we were preparing some young English boys”. Pell’s lawyers claim that it was all taken out of context and the tweet in a whole could give the impression that cardinal associated with the sexual abuse of young boys.

However, everyone has since calmed down, and a spokeswoman for Cardinal Pell explained he was grateful for removing the tweet and therefore would no longer be pursuing legal action. In addition, Catherine Deveny, having over 16,000 Twitter followers, has also issued a statement on her blog, where she said she apologized unreservedly for any hurt the cardinal might have suffered and that she never intended to suggest he was a pedophile.

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