Cardinal Pell, member of the Vatican dome, condemned for pedophilia | Society

Cardinal George Pell, direct counselor of Pope Francis and prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See (a superministry of finance), has been convicted of sexual abuse of minors by a court in Melbourne, according to local media reports. Pell, 77 years old and considered the number 3 of the Vatican, is the highest-ranking cleric ever convicted of a crime of pedophilia and the first of the Roman curia dome.

The court that judges Pell has issued the sentence, but has expressly banned its dissemination so as not to influence the second trial that faces the cardinal from March 2019. Despite being also for abuses committed at the same time, the victims asked that was addressed separately. However, it has transpired that Pell has been convicted of five counts of serious sexual misconduct with two children dating back to the 1990s, one of them using violence. No further details of the conviction are known. But Pell pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him and his arguments did not convince the jury, which deliberated for three days. One of the two minors affected has died and the other testified before the court by videoconference, without giving the name of either.

The shadow of pedophilia had been with Pell for years, even before being named by Francisco as the person who had to bring order to Vatican finances. Also as a member of C9, the important and select council of cardinals that has been advising him for five years for a reform of the administration of the Holy See that does not finish arriving. However, both the Pope and his immediate circle preferred to go ahead with the appointment trusting their innocence. In fact, Pell is still responsible for the finances of the Holy See and has not been replaced in a position of extreme relevance, but that takes a year and a half without its owner. And only yesterday was relieved from the advisory council. The Holy See, through the mouth of its spokesman, Greg Burke, declined to comment on the sentence alleging the secrecy imposed by the court on the case.

Pell left in June 2017 to Australia, covered by a kind of permission given by the Pope without actually removing him. The cardinal denied the facts before the press. "I am waiting for my day in court to defend myself, I am innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of ​​sexual abuse is abhorrent to me. " And the Vatican gave him his support in a statement. "He has openly and repeatedly condemned abuses committed against minors as immoral and intolerable acts, has cooperated in the past with the authorities, has supported the creation of a Pontifical Commission for the protection of minors and the provision of assistance to victims of abuses. "

The condemnation of Pell is a direct blow to two of the Pope's main initiatives: the reform of finances and the fight against pedophilia in the clergy, in question after having appointed and kept a person with his record. The cardinal served as a priest in Ballarat, his hometown, between 1979 and 1984. A period in which there were dozens of cases of abuse by another priest (Gerald Ridsale), who was sentenced to eight years. Pell always denied knowing that. But he also claimed to ignore most of the 4,444 cases reported between 1980 and 2015, many of which occurred when he was archbishop of Melbourne between 1996 and 2001, and Sidney until 2014. However, as Emiliano Fittipaldi, journalist of L'Espresso and author of the book Lust, which deals with this case, in Australia ended up paying eight million euros to victims in exchange for not removing those issues again.

The cardinal always argued health reasons not to travel to Australia and thus avoid a detention and have to testify. But in 2016, he agreed to renounce his Vatican immunity and be questioned via videoconference by members of the commission who investigated cases of abuses committed in the 1980s. On that occasion he admitted to having made "huge mistakes" because those issues - the accusations of pedophilia against priests - always seemed to him gossip.


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