Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic official to be convicted of child sex abuse before he was finally acquitted in 2020, has passed away at the age of 81.
Pell was born Born in Australia on 8 June 1941. He went on to occupy the third highest position at the Vatican when he was appointed the Vatican treasurer.
While serving as the person responsible for Pope Francis’ financial reforms between 2014 and 2019, he was forced to return to Australia to face the allegations of historical sex abuse.
A jury in 2018 concluded that Cardinal Pell had abused two boys while serving as the Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
After being convicted, Pell had to spend 13 months in jail before Australia’s highest court acquitted him in 2020.
He returned to Vatican after his release from jail in Australia. Last week, he attended the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI.
Reacting to Cardinal Pell’s death, the Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher, said, “It is with deep sadness that I can confirm His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell, passed away in Rome in the early hours of this morning. This news comes as a great shock to all of us. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Pell, for comfort and consolation for his family and for all of those who loved him and are grieving him at this time.”