Pell’s ‘catastrophe’ memorandum stains his legacy

Pell Stabs Pope in Back

Title: Pell’s ‘catastrophe’ memorandum stains his legacy
Author: Thomas Reese
Publisher: RNS
Date: 17JAN2023

Pell was cowardly and disloyal in authoring an anonymous memorandum attacking Pope Francis.

(RNS) — I always tried to give Cardinal George Pell the benefit of the doubt, which is why it is so disappointing to find out that the Australian prelate, who died Jan. 10, was the author of a memorandum attacking Pope Francis.

The memo, published on a Vatican blog last March under the pseudonym “Demos,” was circulated to members of the College of Cardinals in anticipation of the next conclave. After the cardinal’s death it was revealed as Pell’s work by the Italian journalist Sandro Magister.

Pell first came on my radar screen when Francis put him in charge of Vatican finances. My friends Down Under, where he had been archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, were happy to see him go to Rome because he had been more pugnacious than pastoral. A former rugby player, he was always ready for a brawl with anyone who opposed him.

Although these are not the qualities you look for in a bishop, they were exactly the qualities needed for someone reforming Vatican finances. The pope needed someone who would not be intimidated by high-ranking clerics with fancy titles, someone willing to take on an entrenched bureaucracy.

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