07 March 2019, The Tablet

Hard questions that must be answered about the Cardinal Pell case

Hard questions that must be answered about the Cardinal Pell case

Thomas Keneally
Photo: Rex/Shutterstock/Athena Picture/Aled Llywelyn


The former Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney and head of the Vatican’s finances is now awaiting sentence, confined in a solitary cell to protect him from other prisoners. One of Australia’s leading writers points out that his fall has a significance far beyond the boundaries of the Church

This week there is a ceremony in Manly, a beautiful peninsula lying between Sydney Harbour and the Pacific, to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the opening of a seminary to produce Australian diocesan priests. The neo-Gothic mass of the seminary gives a fascinating character to the beach and town below: “Manly – seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care,” as the advertising slogan of my childhood ran.

Cardinal George Pell lived here, in apartments in the old seminary grounds, even though the main seminary building is now the International College of Management, Sydney, home to undergraduates and graduate students from Asia and as far away as Scandinavia. I live nearby, and in less troubled times I would see the Cardinal going on constitutionals, un-prelate-like in shorts and sandals.

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