Cardinal Pell believes he has been “targeted” for his conservative positions
The Archbishop Emeritus of Sydney, Australia, made the headlines in Europe beyond the Alps on the occasion of the release in Italy of the first volume of his book, Prison diary, an interesting story in more ways than one, especially to decipher what is going on in Rome.
Being a prince of the Church and having spent more than four hundred days in prison in a non-Communist country is the sad record set by Cardinal George Pell at the age of eighty. An experience that did not call into question the pugnacious character of the Australian.
Moreover, the tone was set in the interview given to Avvenire September 25, during the presentation of his book, Prison diary, at the episcopal seminary of Pordenone: “writing in prison is good therapy; Saint Paul proved it and Solzhenitsyn also testified to it ”, joked the high prelate.
Cardinal Pell does not really exercise the art of underestimation when it comes to analyzing the judicial and media lynching of which he was the victim: “I was targeted because of my defense of the vision. tradition of family, life and sexuality, ”he says.
And he acknowledges that “the triggering factor was the abuse crisis”, because from the start of the trial, the former archbishop heard that it was “possible, even probable (that) was innocent, but (that) the Church did so much harm that it was right that someone should pay and be punished. And he added, a little fatalistic: “unfortunately, it fell on me”.
Without seeking to minimize it, the high prelate wishes to situate the question of abuses within the Church in a more general context of religious crisis: “in our Westernized societies, this great tragedy is not the number one problem. The main problem is the weakening of the faith and the fact that many young people no longer believe.
“This is the big challenge. Besides that, there is the moral crisis of the family and the enormous threat of pornography, not only for the Church but for all humanity ”, he warns.
On the role of “Mr. Clean” of the Vatican finances, which Pope Francis had entrusted to him, and which drew him certain enmities within the Curia, Cardinal Pell launches with a knowing smile: “for me, he does not There was no difference between Italians and non-Italians, but between honest people and those who weren’t.
Some proofs for him that transparency is advancing in this area: “The trial of Cardinal Angelo Becciu can be held, it is an important moment because the Vatican can thus be seen as a place where the law is respected”, underlined the former archbishop of Sydney who has never hidden the fact of having collided head-on in the exercise of his functions with the former number two of the Secretary of State.
Another sign of a certain Australian outspokenness: the Universal Synod, a great project dear to the Argentine pontiff, does not seem to arouse excessive enthusiasm on the part of the high
prelate; “I’m not an expert on synodality,” he joked, “and I don’t see many who really understand what this means, but I will be following it all with great interest.”
When finally asked what struck him the most during his time in prison, Cardinal Pell answered without hesitation: “not being able to celebrate mass, alcohol being prohibited in prison; and not knowing what was going on outside.