A few days ago, he evoked his memories of Benedict XVI during interviews about the deceased pope. Australian Cardinal George Pell died on the evening of Tuesday, January 10, in Rome (Italy), following a postoperative complication, at the age of 81.
Born in 1941 in the State of Victoria, Australia, Cardinal Pell was notably Archbishop of Sydney (2001-2014), and raised to the cardinalate by John Paul II in 2003. Appointed by Pope Francis to head the Secretariat for the economy in 2014, he was charged by the latter with the difficult reform of Vatican finances. But, in 2018, he was forced to resign to organize his defense in Australia, where he was implicated in child crime cases.
The former archbishop of Sydney was imprisoned for 405 days, between November 2018 and April 2020, for an alleged sexual assault on minors, before being finally cleared of all charges by the justice of his country. Back in Rome after his acquittal, he was greeted with a smile by the pope who expressed his “pleasure to see (him) again”.
In a prison diary published at the end of 2020, the Australian cardinal, in addition to his memories of detention, discussed his Roman experience, and in particular the four years during which he was charged by Francis to reform the finances of the Vatican, at the head of the Secretariat for the Economy. With sometimes harsh words. “Throughout my life as a priest, except perhaps during my four years of mission in Rome, I was always struck and inspired by the quality and faith of the people I served,” he wrote.
Since June 8, 2021, the day of his 80th birthday, Cardinal Pell was no longer one of the cardinal electors in the event of a conclave. The College of Cardinals now has 223 members, including 125 electors (under the age of 80). Among them, 50 are European (of which 18 are Italian), 21 come from Asia and 16 from Africa. In addition, 16 are from North America, 14 from South America and 5 from Central America. The Sacred College also has three Oceanian voters. According to a count compiled by La Croix, 24 cardinals have been or are currently members of the Roman Curia.
The College of Cardinals has four French electors: Jean-Marc Aveline (63 years old), Philippe Barbarin (72 years old), Dominique Mamberti (70 years old) and Jean-Pierre Ricard (78 years old). There are also two Frenchmen among the 98 non-voters, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, 80 years old since last November, and Cardinal Paul Poupard, 92 years old.
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