In this very special episode of the Parousia Podcast, Charbel is joined by His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell AC, former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican. This episode is devoted to getting to know Cardinal Pell, the man behind the headlines. Charbel asks His Eminence about his upbringing, his call to the priestly vocation, his early years as a priest, then his time as Archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, his work as a Cardinal and his trial, imprisonment and ultimate liberation.
Prison Journal, Volume 1: The Cardinal Makes His Appeal – George Cardinal Pell – Ignatius Press (Paperback)
That final verdict came after Cardinal George Pell endured a gruelling five years of accusations, trials, conviction, humiliation, character assassination, and finally more than a year of imprisonment, having been convicted by an Australian appellate court for a crime he didn’t commit.
Led off to jail in handcuffs and with shackles binding his ankles following his trial on March 13, 2019, the 78-year old Australian prelate began what was to be a six-year imprisonment for “historical sex abuse”. After Cardinal Pell endured more than 13 months in prison, eight of those in solitary confinement, the Australian High Court voted 7-0 to overturn his original conviction. His victory over an extreme travesty of justice was not just personal, but one for the entire Catholic Church.
Bearing no ill will toward his accuser, judges, prison workers, journalists, and those harbouring and expressing hate for him, the Cardinal used his time in prison as a kind of “extended retreat”. He eloquently filled pages with spiritual insights, his daily activities, personal thoughts, love for his fellow man, and beautiful, moving prayers, among other details.
This is the first of three volumes of Cardinal Pell’s extraordinary testimony to strength, perseverance, love, and grace is.
“These prison diaries should never have been written. That they were written is a testament to the capacity of God’s grace to inspire insight, magnanimity, and goodness amidst wickedness, evil, and injustice. That they were written so beautifully bears witness to the Christian character that divine grace formed in their author, Cardinal George Pell.”
— George Weigel, from the Introduction
The Parousia Podcast is an initiative of Parousia aiming to get to know the stories behind some of the regular faces and guests around the Parousia world.
Image: GIOVANNI PORTELLI / The Catholic Weekly
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