Washington D.C., Jun 9, 2021 / 09:00 am
Cardinal George Pell – the former prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy – called for stronger fiscal accountability procedures at the Vatican, in a recent interview with CNA.
Referring to questionable investments and transactions by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State – including controversial investments in a London property which lost an estimated $100 million – Cardinal Pell, 80, expressed gratitude that those transactions have been made known to the public by reporters.
“Now to what extent it is gross incompetence, to what extent it is their willing connivance, to what extent criminal activity is involved – I simply don’t know, but it’s good that it’s come to light,” he said. “What is much more important is that the investment procedures are standardized, and that disastrous investments like this just don’t happen again.”
Cardinal Pell spoke with CNA on May 21, following the release of the second volume of his prison journal, “The State Court Rejects the Appeal.” In the journal – which covers the period of July 14-Nov. 30, 2019 – Pell discussed a variety of matters such as his time in prison, his reflections on the faith, and current events including financial scandals at the Vatican.
Pell, the former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy tasked with overseeing the Vatican’s financial and administrative matters, in 2017 was charged with having sexually abused choir boys in his former cathedral in Melbourne, Australia, in 1996 and 1997.
He left Rome to stand trial in Australia. While Pell’s first trial ended with a hung jury, he was found guilty by a unanimous jury in a retrial, and sentenced to six years in prison on five counts of child sex abuse. A 2-1 decision of the Court of Appeal in Victoria upheld his conviction in August 2019.
Pell spent 404 days in solitary confinement in Melbourne Assessment Prison and HM Prison Barwon, a maximum-security prison southwest of Melbourne. His appeal was ultimately heard and his charges were unanimously overturned by the Australian High Court on April 7, 2020.
Cardinal Pell’s prison journal, written during his incarceration, is now being released in three volumes by Ignatius Press. The second volume was published on May 3.