Cardinal Pell, Rest in Peace domain

George Cardinal Pell died yesterday, suffering a heart attack after what seemed to be routine hip surgery. Requiescat in pace. He was 81, and lived a long and full life, serving the Church in Australia, appointed archbishop of Melbourne by Pope Saint John Paul II in    . He was an advisor to the pontiff, as well as to his successor, Pope Benedict. I had the privilege of meeting his grace briefly, outside the cathedral in Sydney during World Youth Day in 2008, having a brief chat, and discussing mutual friends. I had the impression of a gracious and good man, who took the time in the midst of a hectic schedule in a throng of people to speak with some random nobody pilgrim from Canada.

That was also the only time I saw Pope Benedict, whom the youth loved and admired; and we now mourn the loss of them both.

Sad that the final years the cardinal were spent under the cloud of what from all accounts was an unjust and slanderous accusation, for which he spent over a year in jail, before being completely exonerated by Australia’s highest court. He did not have to return to his native land to face ‘justice’, but did so from his own sense of duty and conscience, perhaps knowing that not to do so would be an implicit admission of guilt. Odd coincidence that this was about the time the cardinal was trying to clean up the Augean stables of the Vatican banking system. As Christ Merritt explains below, Cardinal Pell died an innocent man, in the legal sense, but you wouldn’t know it from some of the frothing hatred of the mob, swayed so easily by media, and, who knows, maybe their own guilty consciences.

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.

We pray for Cardinal George Pell and Pope Emeritus Benedict, that they soon meet the God whom they served, and to whom they dedicated their lives and priestly vocations. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. +