BREAKING NEWS – PELL TAKEN INTO CUSTODY
Cardinal Pell: Poisoned power at the top of the Church
By Martin Bashir Religion editor BBC 26 February 2019
Last weekend’s unprecedented Vatican summit on child sexual abuse was closed with a Sunday homily by Australian Mark Coleridge, the Archbishop of Brisbane.
“In sexual abuse,” Archbishop Coleridge said, “the powerful lay hands on the Lord’s… weakest and most vulnerable.”
He could have been describing his fellow countryman, Cardinal George Pell, for there are few as powerful to have fallen from grace within the Roman Catholic Church.
Pell is certainly the most senior churchman to have been convicted of offences against children.
Pell was appointed by the Pope as Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, which effectively runs the Vatican’s voluminous finances.
Following his appointment, he relocated to Rome from Australia, where he had been the Archbishop of Sydney since 2001.
Pell, who began a five-year term in 2014 with offices on the first floor of the Apostolic Palace, quickly set about introducing new accounting standards, established the Holy See’s financial watchdog to deal with suspicious transactions, and ensured that the Vatican Bank’s accounts were independently audited.
A bullish figure who faced plenty of obstruction, he was known among some officials as “Cardinal Rambo”. But that was more a term of endearment – because Pell was having a positive impact on the church’s finances.
News of his conviction for child sexual abuse is a grave blow not just to the church, but also to Pope Francis personally.
He was one of the Pope’s closest aides.
Image copyright GETTY IMAGES Image caption Pell was appointed to oversee the Vatican’s finances in 2014
He was not only leading the crucial reform of the church’s sprawling finances, but was also appointed by Francis to his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors, known as the C9. It was the C9 that encouraged Pope Francis to host this first-ever summit on child sexual abuse.
But that was just one of many Vatican departments in which Pell played a significant role.
Poison from top to bottom
Cardinal Pell was a member of the Congregation of Bishops, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Congregation for the Institutes of the Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.
His conviction confirms that the poison of sexual abuse has infected every level of the Roman Catholic Church
Back in 2012, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard established a Royal Commission to inquire into institutional responses to child abuse in Australia.
It found that 7% of priests in Australia had abused children.
The charges against Pell emerged from Australia’s rigorous inquiry into every institution that had access to children.
The state began a process that the church itself seemed incapable of managing – and now this 77-year-old ambitious Cardinal will swap the Apostolic Palace for a jail cell.
And in a final turn of providence, or coincidence, it won’t even be necessary for Pope Francis to fire Cardinal Pell from office.
His five-year term as Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy expired on 24 February.
Cardinal Pell has been convicted of sexually abusing minors.
He will be sentenced this week.
He is the highest ranking cleric in the RC to be convicted of such crimes.
He still has an appeal in the system. That appeal will cement or overturn his conviction.
I imagine an overturn is highly unlikely – but not impossible.
I watched an original tv programme that interviewed the victims. I was impressed with what they had to say and how they conducted themselves. I believed they were telling the truth.
Sadly one of them died recently and never got to know the outcome.
Pope Francis is now left with another McCarrick decision – to dismiss Pell from the College of Cardinals and to remove him from the clerical state.
He will probably wait for the outcome of the appeal to do that?
We had Cardinal Keith O’Brien in Scotland; Cardinal Groer in Austria; McCarrick in the USA and now Pell in Australia. There are others out there who have not yet been exposed.
It shows how widespread and universal the problem is.
The Roman Catholic Church is in melt down.
“How the mighty have fallen”.