George Pell ‘plans to spend the rest of his retirement in Sydney’ following his release from prison – because the Pope isn’t giving him his old job back

By Sahar Mourad For Daily Mail Australia Apr 2020, updated 09 Apr 2020

Cardinal George Pell was acquitted of child sex abuse and freed from prison 

The 78-year-old is expected to retire in Sydney after convictions were quashed

Pell was hoping to beat the convictions early and return to the Vatican for his job

He was in charge of the church’s finances following multiple financial scandals  

Cardinal George Pell will spend the rest of his retirement in Sydney where he feels more comfortable and can move around more freely, according to reports.

The 78-year-old travelled from Melbourne to Sydney on Wednesday stopping briefly at a servo to buy a phone charger and newspapers.

He arrived at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Homebush, in Sydney’s inner west, at around 9pm on Wednesday.
It is understood that he will spend the rest of his retirement at the seminary, where he has briefly lived before. 

Pell had hoped to return to Rome but there has been no job offer from the Pope and his previous role has been filled. 

He had been appointed at head of the Secretariat for the Economy to fix the church’s finances following a number of financial scandals.

But the role was handed over to Spanish priest Fr Juan Antonio as Pell continued to fight child sex abuse charges.

Cardinal Pell was freed from jail on Tuesday after Australia’s top court ruled he had not been proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

In 2018, a jury convicted him of abusing two choirboys in the 1990s. The cleric has maintained his innocence.

Pell was released after spending 405 days in Barwon Prison, in regional Victoria. 
He spent his first day of freedom driving up to Sydney where he is expected to spend the rest of his retirement. 

During a pit stop at a petrol station on the Hume Highway in Victoria, the Cardinal told media he was ‘very pleased’ to be free.

He apologised for not dressing better, saying he wasn’t expecting company on the trip.

Before you arrived, it was better here,’ he told media at the service station when asked about life behind bars, before adding his prison experience was ‘not too bad’. 

He also asked reporters to adhere to social distancing and not get too close to him.

A pit stop at a petrol station on the Hume Highway in Victoria for a phone charger and a newspaper, the Cardinal told media he was ‘very pleased’ to be set free. A child’s tricycle is seen on the gate of the Carmelite Monastery (pictured) where Cardinal George Pell stayed on Tuesday night after being released from prison.

One of George Pell’s accusers accepted the high court’s decision to overturn his child sex abuse conviction – saying the law is ‘weighed in favour of the accused’.

Known as Witness J, the former choirboy came forward after another accuser died in 2014 and claimed he too was abused by the cardinal.

He said he understood there must be ‘due and proper process’ in a civil society, but feared the system was flawed  – leaving many child sex offenders unpunished. 

‘I respect the decision of the High Court. I accept the outcome,’ Witness J said in a statement released by his lawyer, Vivian Waller. 

It is difficult in child sex abuse matters to satisfy a criminal court that the offending has occurred beyond the shadow of a doubt.  

‘I understand why criminal cases must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. 

No-one wants to live in a society where people can be imprisoned without due and proper process. This is a basic civil liberty.

But the price we pay for weighing the system in favour of the accused is that many sexual offences against children go unpunished.’

But Witness J said he hoped the outcome wouldn’t discourage child sexual abuse survivors from coming forward, and reassured them ‘most people recognise the truth when they hear it’.
‘I am content with that,’ he said. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Cardinal Pell said he bears no ill-will toward the man, now in his 30s.

The decision has been divisive and police are now investigating the vandalism of Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Rot in Hell Pell’ was emblazoned on the doors of the cathedral where he was alleged to have abused the two choirboys. 


Cardinal Pell is nearly 80. He spent most of life as a junior and senior cleric and would have enjoyed much adulation.

Now his life is in tatters.

Legally and technically he has not been convicted of any crime and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

We cannot know what the future will bring.

41 replies on “George Pell ‘plans to spend the rest of his retirement in Sydney’ following his release from prison – because the Pope isn’t giving him his old job back”

I would say that it would be very unwise for ABC to publicise other material beyond that already in the public domain, now that Pell has been found not guilty. Very careful, indeed. However, having said that, I doubt if Pell has the resources or energy to challenge any such unsubstantiated and slanderous accusations. If I were he, I would seek to withdraw as much as possible and just let people say what they want, and seek some peace and quiet. It will become yesterday’s news, and in due course he can quietly carry on with his life of retirement – which will not be great after all he has been through, and all he has had to expend in order to get his case heard at various levels. It’s a mess all round. And, by and large, nobody wins after digging themselves in to the trenches for so long.


The Arroyo interviews below make for very interesting viewing, even accepting that they are somewhat partisan in favour of Pell. But, there are some very clear points made about what has happened:

1. An innocent man has spent 404 days in prison, mostly in solitary confinement
2. From the get go, the physical logistics of what was alleged simply were not physically possible in the cathedral on a Sunday
3. The Australian media has conducted a campaign of vilification against Pell for years, and has had the effect of tainting the public mindset against him, including that of the jury.
4. There are some very serious questions to be asked about the collusion and malpractice of the Victorian police and justice system.
5. The principle of innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt has been reasserted by the High Court.
6. No matter how plausible and convincing an individual accusation may be, it has to be weighted against other, possibly contrary, evidence in weighting up a case. If the courts allow single, individual, convincing accusations to be the only criteria for deciding if someone is guilty, then any deluded, false memory recovery, inaccurate, or malicious accusation will stand as long as the person making it is able to sound convincing enough.
7. The Australian bishops and the Vatican have been very muted in their welcoming of the acquittal of Pell. Why ? They seem more concerned to state their confidence in the Australian justice system. As well as to trot out the usual stuff about being on the side of the accusers and the abused. Why ?
8 And finally…not necessarily from the Arroyo programme: I cannot understand why the judge in the original court cases was not clear enough to a jury that the accusation being made against Pell, even if convincingly delivered, was not in itself sufficient to make him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, as the standard of law requires. That was his role as judge, to make sure that the due process of justice and how it is arrived at is followed. And, even after the verdict, surely he could have seen that this was a judgement based on insufficient evidence, and that there were grounds for it to be quashed, either by a mistrial or by immediate reference to an appeal. There are questions to be asked about the competence of that judge, I believe.
9. It is interesting to note that the High Court judgement quashing Pell’s conviction was derived as a unanimous verdict of all 7 justices. Pretty convincing. There has been something desperately wrong with this case from the beginning. Why it took so long to see this and act on it is something that should also be looked at. Australia can be happy that it has finally put right a grievous wrong, but it should also be ashamed that it allowed it to happen in the first place and that it took so long to put right.
10. I can’t stand Pell for lots of other reasons ! So, I have no interest in saying these things as a supporter of Pell. I just say them because justice is very important. For all of us. If we say nothing, do nothing, and let injustice happen to others, then one day it will happen to me and to you. The abused, too, should be glad to see justice done, even though it may seem hurtful to them. For, if they want justice to be done for them they must allow justice to be done for others. Otherwise, they do will be treated unjustly if injustice is allowed to go unchallenged and resolved.


He’s not Cardinal Filth, he’s Cardinal Pell, a man who stands innocent in law after having had his life dissected by the media and the law courts over the last few years, and has been definitively declared in law as being innocent, not guilty and a free man. That’s what we should be looking at. Not trying to imagine all sorts of things against him just so that he can be brought low at any cost Why, I wonder, is there such a visceral hatred and desire to bring down Cardinal Pell ? It bemuses me. I feel great compassion for him, as I do for those who have been abused in any place or time. But, you do not salve, appease, heal the latter by filleting the former irrespective of the evidence and justice.


I have a feeling more news is coming about Pell, whether allegations or revelations about his management of abusers.


It was quite obvious reading some Australian media outlets and journalists that something was not right in the lead up to the court cases re: Cardinal Pell. There WAS a sustained media campaign against Cardinal Pell. News outlets conspired with anti church elements for a plate on a head. There were contrary voices expressing doubts over the approach to the investigations into allegations against Pell. Miscarriages of justice have occurred. I hope Cardinal Pell will now be allowed to have peace. Those responsible – and they are known – for the horrendous act of vindictive abuse, lies and treachery against Cardinal Pell should be prosecuted. Let those people for now help the survivors if they are really concerned about truth, healing and justice.


The specific charge was a convenient distraction FROM his mismanagement which the corrupt Victoria authorities won’t prosecute – they even dismissed the policeman that uncovered it. After the “Melbourne Response”, why did he have to be sent to a different province so soon? And to the financial corrupt in the Vatican sending him after them must have looked like robbing Paul to pay Peter, as well as earning PF a brownie point.


—Adam, Eve and the Serpent —
William B. Bradshaw, contributor and
09/21/2013 09:56 AM ET: HUFFPOST
The story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent in the garden of Eden is found in chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. Whether you interpret the story literally, believing it took place exactly as it appears in the Bible, or prefer a more symbolic translation is absolutely unimportant for our purposes–the meaning of the story is the same. And there is no question about it–this story has genuine relevance for all of us today.
Let’s take a look at what happened. [In the Hebrew and in most English versions of the Bible, the “g” in garden of Eden is lower case; in current popular usage, the “g” has been capitalized: Garden of Eden.]
In chapter 2, after God creates Adam [the first human creature], God puts Adam in the garden of Eden. And in the midst of the garden, among “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food,” God plants “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God tells Adam he is free to eat of the fruit of any tree except the one tree in the center of the garden. And then God creates Eve to keep Adam from being lonely and to give him a helper. [All quotes from Revised Standard Version].
In chapter 3, the serpent comes into the story. The serpent is described as being “more subtle [that is, crafty] than any other wild creature.” The serpent convinces Eve that God did not really mean what he said to Adam about not eating of the one tree, and after taking a good look at the tree, Eve samples its fruit. She likes how it tastes, that it is a “delight to the eyes,” and that it is “to be desired to make one wise”; and she gives some of the tree’s fruit to Adam. He seems to forget, at least momentarily, what God had told him about not eating of that particular tree, and he eats the fruit that Eve has given him. Then God appears.
After being questioned, Adam admits to God that he ate of the tree, but goes on to offer an excuse for his behavior: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” God then asks Eve: “What is this that you have done?” And she makes an excuse for her behavior: “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.”
We now come to the real purpose and meaning of this very first story in the Bible about the human creature after he and she have been created. God punishes all three–the serpent, Eve, and Adam–for their behavior.
From the beginning of human existence, God makes it plain to all of us–male and female–that we cannot go through life blaming others for our own [actions] behavior.
Certainly there are legitimate exceptions to all basic principles, and that is the case with taking Responsibility for One’s Own Actions…!
Sometimes there are circumstances or people over which we have no control that affect ours’ [and the wider Community’s ] lives: but, in mine [and again, the wider Community’s] opinion, things have gotten way out of hand these days…‘’
May God bless you all, and may His love, light and wisdom pierce your heartSv like the morning sunshine. All He asks is that you just say ‘YES’ and embrace; He will do the rest. Trust me… x
+Bishop Pat, thank you for your good works and that of your congregation too. I can honestly say that you have been a life saver.


I do agree, this may possibly be a great miscarriage of justice: but also a great miscarriage of InJustcce, quite possibly, no?
I can honestly say, I have an idea how, if there genuinely are victims of this prelate, how they could be feeling to be let down in this way. But my message to them would be: ‘Don’t give up!’ Stay strong, and close to those who love and care for you.


Any chance of a blog on Mullingar? Who are the priests there being featured by RTE over these few days? Fr Campbell, Fr Heery, Fr Darby and the bishop. Fr heery doesn’t appear to be presiding over any of the ceremonies but is there looking very holy. The bishop will address the nation tomorrow evening. Can we have a blog on these very holy men and the beautiful cathedral of Mullingar.


6.53: What utter superfluous concerns for Good Friday! My God! What parallel world are you living in? A selfish plonk with no brains. On this Good Friday with 1000’s sick with covid 19, many seriously ill and many deaths, you only want to know bits about priests in Mullingar Cathedral. Shameless, immoral fool. If you are a follower of Christ, more shame on you for your sexual perversions. Go and pray for healing of your stupidity.


This is a media technique called burying bad news – you announce anything you do not want to get attention on a day something bad happens so your problem is hidden away. In this case the poster is drawing attention to Good Friday and Covid-19 and away from Mullingar.


All this talk about whether Pell was or wasn’t a paedophile is pointless.
The important issue is his protection of criminal paedophiles and the heartless and unethical ways that he dealt with victims — the Melbourne Response and the Ellis Defence.


Phonsie was on the box earlier this evening rabbiting on about the pandemic,
saying he’d never seen anything like it in his life time. Duh.


He wasn’t on the beg.
However last Christmas twelve months he went public saying he
couldn’t pay priests in his diocese their Christmas ‘wages’ because
monies were down.


7.11: Joseph, you should read much more infirmatively beyond the snippets of this blog. You should realise that many voices- non-catholic – raised manybquestions abiut tge almegatiins made against Cardinal Pell. He was entitled to defend himself – was he not? He did so abd was acquitted of charges briught against him. There were so many unsafe dimensions to his trial – media commentary and huge anti Catholic bias and bigotry. All of us with human compassion feel great sorrow for all victims and survivors. Let those who fought for Cardinal Pell’s downfall now come to the help of survivors and not just “express their outrage” but actually DO something meaningful that will be conducive to healing. The media outlets profited hugely in reporting stories on Pell: let them use their profits for some good!


8:50 pm

Oh!. ‘All of us with human compassion feel great sorrow for all victims and survivors’.
Is that so. That explains why this ‘ crisis’ is ongoing for 35 years or more, in the public domain. What are you doing to help survivors or DO that’s meaningfully conducive to healing? Challenge your bishops to do something meaningfully conducive to healing other than the carry on that goings on. How about a commission of enquiry? There’s something practical to lobby for with your bishops. We are fed up with empty rhetoric and meaningless public apologies made for the gallery.


3.03an: Were you up in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying? Or simply being facetious? How often do you and others have to be told that compassion is not the preserve of those outside priesthood. Of course I care. I know what abuse is having experienced it as a teenager. I know. I care. I help presently with a restorative programme for survivors. Stop forever blaming all clerics. Tell us what you do after you arise from bed to DO anything for anyone….




Tell US when you last protested, openly and publicly, the corruption, injustices, and lavish expenditure in your church.

Or did you, like all (or vrtually all) Romanist priests, lie low to protect your livelihood and home from reprisal by the bishop?


9:10 am

Fr. passive aggressive clerical apologist troll, unable to differentiate between, all of,some of, few of , most of, none of, many of, etc, is back displaying more symptoms of cognitive dissonance necessitating cognitive reframing. Are you a bishop?
Stop misrepresenting commentators whose comments don’t sit well with your cognitive map of the Institutional Church. Here’s a fact for you to contemplate on: many survivors, myself included, have and will always have, the high moral ground on clerical abuse, over priests, bishops and even the Pope. If you want to do something conducive to healing, organise ‘good priests’ as a collective to challenge bishops and/or lobby for a commission of enquiry.
Do I expect it to happen; No. The institutional Church is full of moral cowards, frightened of repercussions, reprisals and fear of being ostracized.( Punishment). From the top down, to clerical minnows in ‘ground zero,’ Ireland, cover up is alive, well and kicking.
Meanwhile, the Church continues to implode. Check out social protection information on . You and your colleagues might need to access it before too long.


9.29: The Mafia….more moral than you too I imagine. What’s your situation…being subsidised by government? All clergy pay their just taxes to Revenue. We will have to have a reduced income. I agree with this. I do not like the mockers who despise clergy out of hatred and vindictiveness.


11.25: As a survivor of abuse, now a priest, you do not have any greater moral high ground than me. Absolutely not. It’s arrogant of you to constantly infer that all priests are apologists. Wrong. A complete lie but a narrative that suits church bashers. Responding in so threatening a manner suggests that you have a huge vendetta and an agenda. Your sense of delight at all clerics says more about you than me. I wish you well and pray you find hooe. But spare me your implosions. Strangely in these days our parishioners are very generous through other means than a basket. Exceptionally, perhaps more generous than normal.



Your sounding like a bit of a nitwit.
I’ll ALWAYS have the high moral ground on the absue issue, over you, your colleagues in the priesthood, over bishops and even over the Pope!
Continue to bury your head. That’s your prerogative. I don’t want or need your prayers. Vendetta, nonsense, while twisting comments to suit your pathetic lame agenda.
Are you a member of the lavender mafia, by any chance?
Many of your parishioners probably don’t realise what’s coming down the track economically.
Check out social protection on . You’ll get the smell of the sheep in a dole quey.


3.25: No you won’t bully me or any priest who us innocent, good and of integrity. No, you won’t silence my voice. Never. I do a huge amount through a restorative programme which I am involved in. I am a human being, abused in the past and as entitled to you to have a moral voice. I am not at all worried about my salary being cut. I even suggested it to our Bishop 6 werkscago. Furthermore a group of colleagues along with their extended colleagues have established a fund for very needy families which we are channelling through Br. Kevin’s Day Care Centre and St. v. De Paul Society. Also our parishioners are still donating very generously. So, despite the huge dilemmas for all of us, many people do not share your horrible nastiness. There are many, many priests, sir, who are carrying out essential pastoral work, much of course to your horror! Get a grip. My conscience is clear before God. God is good and working through us.


Hippy hoppy hi yall . This suffering thing is not an a thing in itself It is a consequence of pain. Jesus was not a pain freak. It was Jesus attitude and action that makes salvation possible. Keep safe one and all


Were you abused by a priest? No. That’s what you’ve said before on this blog.
I’ve told you several times there’s an added dynamic of spiritual abuse to abuse by a cleric.
I never questioned your integrity, innocence or goodness, tried to silence your voice, moral or otherwise, dehumanize you or question your conscience before God.
Nor , did I question what you do or don’t do.
You, along with your colleagues need to recognise the damage caused by bishops protecting abusers while covering up for them, as well being complicit in the corruption rotting the Church. Stop being so manipulative in your commenting.


11.25: Your effort to dismantle an argument failed abysmally. Your own cognitive attempts are in shreds. Tatters. Trying to be clever with a learned language of psychology is not your forte. I can spot cheats anywhere. As for threats – they slide off me like water off a duck’s back. . So don’t overly excite your fragility.


Pat what words or action would you take if Stephen Wilson approached you in an aggressive manner. Wilson is known to pull hair , scratch and scream.


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