Australian Cardinal Stirs Up Trouble George Pell dies aged 81
He used to be the third most powerful person in the Vatican. Cardinal George Pell, who used to be a very important person in the Catholic Church, died on Tuesday at 81 in Rome. George Pell came from a poor family in the Australian state of Victoria, but he worked his way up to become the grand treasurer of the Vatican. But his meteoric rise was slowed by the fact that in the 1990s, when he was Archbishop of Melbourne, he was found guilty of sexually assaulting two Australian altar boys. The convictions were later overturned.
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On Wednesday, his supporters praised this “saint” of our time, but his death brought back painful memories for people who were s**ually abused in the Church. In a statement sent to AFP, Australian Archbishop Anthony Fisher said, “It is with great sadness that I can confirm that His Eminence, Cardinal George Pell, died in Rome on Tuesday.” “This news comes as a big surprise to us all,” he said. In a telegram of condolences sent Wednesday, Pope Francis expressed his “sorrow” and praised a “faithful servant who, without wavering, followed his lord with perseverance even in trial.”
One year behind bars
The official Vatican News website says that George Pell “died from complications after hip surgery” in a Rome hospital. The Australian Church said that his body will be taken to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.
He went back to Australia on his own in 2017 to face charges of s*x abuse, which he strongly denied until his death. In 2019, he was given a prison sentence of six years for sexually assaulting two altar boys in the sacristy of Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s. After his conviction was upheld on appeal, the Australian High Court threw it out, and the prelate was freed after 12 months in jail.
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