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Cardinal Pell, R.I.P.

Cardinal Pell’s signature project, the audit of the Vatican Bank, was permanently stalled. Yet his more important duties he carried out.

Cardinal Pell
(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

In her retrospective of the miscarriage of justice against the late George Cardinal Pell, whose funeral is today at Rome, TAC’s own Helen Andrews summarizes the crux of the abuse case against the prelate: “The prosecution relied on the testimony of a single accuser whose allegation required the then-archbishop to perform practically impossible feats with multilayered vestments in a sacristy room that would have been bustling with activity after Sunday mass but was, in the accuser’s story, unvisited by anyone for six minutes.”

I was put in mind of the contemporary commentary by Fr. John Hunwicke, an English churchman:


Like me, Pell only has two hands; larger and more eminent ones than mine, I grant you, but still subject to all the same fundamental terrestrial limitations.

Assuming that, for solemn Mass in his Cathedral Church, the Cardinal Archbishop will have been wearing pants, trousers (do they favour zips or buttons in Oz?), soutane (with buttons), alb, girdle, stole, dalmatic, pectoral cross, chasuble, and pallium (praetereo Cappam Magnam), how, er, um, how on earth inguen ita suum a vestibus liberare potuisset ut minctum sine periculo tute perageret, non dicam stuprum?

Phew. Why didn't I write this whole piece in Latin? It's so much easier than English. I'm sure English must be the product only of God's permissive will.

Do you think newly created cardinals attend specially designed Training Sessions praeside et magistro eminentissimo domino Cardinale Coccopalmerio?

Cardinal Pell’s signature project, the audit of the Vatican Bank, was permanently stalled because of his indictment and imprisonment—a warning, perhaps, to those who would look too hard at Rome’s balance sheet. Yet his more important duties he carried out: to baptize, bury, marry, shrive, and, when necessary, suffer. Requiescat in pace.


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