"Most of the senior people in Rome who are in any way sympathetic to financial reform believe that they are [connected]. But I have seen too much from people, as I said, going to possibility to probability to fact – I don't have any evidence of that."
"But one of my fears was that what we had done [to reform the Vatican finances] would remain hidden for ten years or so, and they'd would be revealed and the baddies would say 'Well, Pell and Casey [Pell's chief advisor] were in charge then, they turned a blind eye and did nothing to it.'"
"Thanks be to God all that's gone, because there was a flurry of articles just before Christmas exposing all sorts of things like a disastrous purchase – actually a couple of them – in London, and it was very clearly demonstrated that we tenaciously opposed those things."
"What we were pushing and saying has been massively vindicated," Pell said. "Now you can see why they sacked the auditor [Libero Milone], why they got rid of the external auditors."
Asked how high up in the curial hierarchy financial corruption goes, Pell said "Who knows? It's a little bit like [anti-Catholicism] in Victoria, you're not quite sure where the vein runs, how thick and broad it is, and how high it goes."
But the cardinal also made clear that, in financial reforming efforts, Pope Francis had "absolutely" supported him and that "at the feet of the pope we've got Cardinal [Pietro] Parolin, he's certainly not corrupt. Just how high up [the corruption goes] is an interesting hypothesis."
Pell said that despite the difficulties he faced in prison, where he was held in solitary confinement for much of the time for his own safety, he bore no anger towards his accuser.
"I've got no anger, no hostility towards my complainant, I never have," said Pell.
"I am called to forgive what happened to me that might have been a little unjust, and there is this heroic Christian call to forgiveness in the most appalling circumstances."
But, Pell said, he had no hesitation in condemning the terrible scandal of sexual abuse in the Church.
"I totally condemn those sorts of activities [of abuse] and the damage that it has done to people – and I have seen the damage that it has done to people."
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"One of the things that grieves me is the suggestion that I'm anti-victim or not sufficiently sympathetic. I devoted a lot of time and energy to trying to get [victims] justice, and to get them help and compensation."
Pell noted that as archbishop in the 1990s he set up the Melbourne Response to deal with sexual abuse in the Church and bringing about justice and compensation for victims.
"I worked hard," Pell said, "when it wasn't easy or fashionable, to get something in place – not run by clerics – that would give some protection and redress to these people, and I have worked consistently at that since at least the middle 90s."
The cardinal said he had kept the same routine while in prison that, as a bishop, he had often urged on priests who found themselves "in a bit of trouble;" getting up early and at a set time, praying, exercising, and eating well.
"If you can't pray when you are in trouble, your faith is very weak indeed."
Asked if he had ever asked God, in the words of Christ on the cross, "why have you forsaken me?" Pell responded "No."