Vale Cardinal Pell

Australia has lost one of its greatest Catholic theologians.

Vale Cardinal Pell

Today we mark the loss of one of Australia's pre-eminent Catholics.

Cardinal George Pell passed away after suffering cardiac arrest following routine surgery. He was 81.

One of Australia's most polarising religious figures, Pell seemed to be a lightening rod for anti-Catholic bigotry and a target for his stuanch defence of Church teachings.

Many of his critics were contained within the Church itself, driven by envy or fear, as Pell was dogged in his determination to clean out rotten boroughs.

His talents saw him rise to number three in the Church hierarchy where again he was targeted by religious and lay figures.

Sections of the media (most notably their ABC) took particular delight in airing any and all allegations of scandal against Pell.

Those attacks culminated in criminal charges being brought against him backed by some very questionable policing policy.  

I consider his conviction on those charges was one of the great judicial injustices in Australian history.

That his initial appeal failed was a further indictment on the criminal justice system where many learned legal people concluded a fair trial was almost impossible.

Eventually the High Court ruled in Pell's favour, quashing his conviction which saw him released from jail after serving 13 months of his sentence.

I had the great fortune to know Cardinal Pell personally and the honour to have dined with him on occasion.

He was a gentleman who had unwavering faith and used his considerable intellect to address contemporary issues with timeless wisdom.

The stoicism and forgiveness he displayed after his unjust imprisonment was the mark of a man who lived his faith as he preached it.

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