John McCarthy, KC, former Sydney barrister who was Holy See Ambassador to Australia from 2012 to 2016 and who knew Pell personally for over 40 years, remembers Pell as a towering figure in Sydney, Australia and Rome. .
“It is unlikely that anyone in the near future will hold a position in Rome that Cardinal Pell held in the Australian hierarchy,” he said.
“It is clear that he has remained a very strong and positive asset to the Pope and the administration of the Holy See, both in Church terms and for the wider media and world. I also note that he was a very strong and early supporter of Francis.”
McCarthy said he never believed the cardinal was guilty of sexual abuse. Pell was the first cardinal in the world to be imprisoned for child sex crimes, serving a year before the High Court dismissed the charges.
“I thought his sentence and his time in prison were among the most extraordinary in Australian history. It was extraordinary, full of Christian spirit and love.”
McCarthy said Pell played a strong leadership role in Australia and was responsible for World Youth Day, clergy reform and the church’s response to sexual abuse.
“He was Australia’s most famous priest and a global figure,” he said. “He was highly trusted in Rome for his honesty in administration and money.
“There is no doubt that he made many things difficult in Rome, because he approached nothing but absolute honesty and good management standards.”
McCarthy, who chairs the Catholic Church Anti-Slavery Task Force, said Pell was a strong supporter of the campaign to end modern-day slavery.
He also remembers Pell as a great admirer of the artist Michelangelo and a generous supporter of young Australian seminarians in Rome.
McCarthy said his family, including the Catholic priest’s son James, was shocked and in mourning.
“We extend our solidarity and condolences to his brother David and his other relatives,” he said.
“I was in a class where I thought he was virtually immortal. He will be in my thoughts and prayers over the next few days and weeks.”
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/george-pell-death-live-updates-cardinal-dies-aged-81-20230111-p5cbqw.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national The cardinal died at the age of 81.He is buried in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney