Cardinal George Pell has claimed he was framed on child sex charges by senior figures in the Catholic Church due to his work on Vatican financial reform.
In an interview with Italian media channel RAI 1, Cardinal Pell, 79, alleged everyone who investigated the church’s finances had been ‘publicly attacked’.
‘All the most important people that have worked together on financial reform, every single one of us, I believe with very few exceptions, has been attacked in the media and had our reputations besmirched in one way or another,’ he told RAI 1’s Sette Storie program on Monday.
He referred to the case of Roberto Calvi, a Vatican banker who was in 1982 found dead hanging from a London bridge, and to banker Michele Sindona, who was fatally poisoned in prison in 1986.
‘We all remember what happened to Calvi, who killed himself at a bridge in London … with his hands behind his back. A strange way to hang yourself,’ he said.
‘And we shouldn’t forget what happened to that other one, Sindona, who was found poisoned in prison …. tempi antichi [ancient times.]
‘Today, more often than not they attack by destroying reputations.’
In December 2018 Pell was convicted on five charges of child sexual abuse but in April had his convictions quashed by the High Court.
He has since returned to his residence in Vatican City after a short period in Sydney and is due to publish his prison diaries this week.
The cardinal spent 404 days in prison before his acquittal.
Cardinal Pell was tasked in 2014 with overseeing Vatican finances, including its budget, and cleaning up its books after a number of corruption scandals.
He returned to Australia in 2018 to face charges and never resumed his duties; he also never provided any evidence which lent weight to his suspicions.
Cardinal Pell was convicted on December 11, 2018 of sexually abusing two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral when he was the city´s archbishop in the late 1990s.
The most senior Catholic to be charged with child sex abuse was not reported in the news media because of the suppression order that forbade publication of details in any format that could be accessed from Australia.
Details were suppressed to prevent prejudicing jurors in a second child abuse trial that Pell was to face three months later.
That second trial was canceled due to a lack of evidence, and Australia’s High Court in April overturned all convictions after Pell had spent 13 months in prison.
Cardinal Pell, 79, last week declared to Reuters the Vatican risked slowly ‘going broke’ unless it curbed its deficits and put its house in order.
The Ballarat-born cardinal has ‘quietly’ met with his successor as Vatican treasurer, Spaniard Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, as well as Pope Francis.
He also said his stint in prison in Victoria ‘wasn’t like a holiday’, but he didn’t want to exaggerate its awfulness.
The above comes from a Dec. 15 story in the Daily Mail (U.K.).