Pope Francis meets acquitted Australian cardinal George Pell

Clay Curtis
October 14, 2020

But before his legal troubles, Pell was in Rome looking into Vatican finances at the pope's request.

Pope Francis met on Monday with Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's former economy minister who has returned to Rome after the firing of an Italian cardinal whom Cardinal Pell had accused of obstructing financial reform.

Becciu had worked previously as the number two-ranking official in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, where, CNA has previously reported, he repeatedly clashed with Pell over the reform of Vatican finances.

Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu has resigned from the church after allegations emerged he had given at least €600,000 (£550,000/AUD$981,000) to a charity cooperative run by one of his brothers.

On Oct. 7, Becciu's lawyer listed several other accusations against the cardinal that he called "absolutely false".

George Pell arrives at Rome's worldwide airport in Fiumicino, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020.

In fact, Cardinal Becciu said, at one meeting in the presence of Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell "silenced me, saying, 'You are a dishonest person.' And it was there I lost my patience".

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Cardinal Pell congratulated the Pope after Cardinal Becciu was sacked.

The Pope was then heard to say "more than a year" - a reference to the 13 months Pell spent in jail before his conviction for sexual abuse was overturned by Australia's High Court in April.

"I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria", Pell said in his statement following Becciu's resignation.

Becciu has denied claims in the Italian media that he transferred money to Australia in an attempt to influence Pell's trial.

Pell still maintains an apartment in the Vatican and in an April interview with Australian columnist Andrew Bolt, Pell said he would return to Rome eventually to collect his belongings but that he meant to live in Sydney.

The Australian man who accused Pell of sexually abusing him has denied allegations he may have been bribed to testify.

This report has been updated to include the pope's remarks during the audience and the comment to the National Catholic Register.

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