Leaders of the Greens Party in Australia have begun a drive to cite Cardinal George Pell for contempt of parliament-- an effort that the cardinal described as carrying "a whiff of Stalinism."
Lee Rhiannon, a Greens lawmaker, won approval for a parliamentary hearing at which Cardinal Pell will be questioned about his statement that politicians who vote in favor of cloning should realize that their votes will have "consequences for their place in the life of the Church."
Rhiannon complained that the cardinal's remarks were intended to intimidate lawmakers. "Cardinal Pell has shown no remorse for his comments," she added.
The Sydney prelate responded by saying that he "would be privileged to appear before the committee if necessary, to resist this clumsy attempt to curb religious freedom and freedom of speech."
During a radio interview on June 17, Cardinal Pell added that he "never threatened anybody with a public excommunication." He continued to say that politicians who support cloning should recognize the moral consequences of their actions.