SYDNEY (Reuters) – Following are reactions to the death of Australian Cardinal George Pell, a leading Roman Catholic conservative and former top Vatican official who in 2020 was acquitted of sexual abuse allegations.
PRIME MINISTER ANTHONY ALBANESE
“For many people, particularly of the Catholic faith, this will be a difficult day and I express my condolences to all those who are mourning today.
“This will come as a shock to many. This was a hip operation and the consequences of it, unfortunately, have been that Cardinal Pell has lost his life.”
FORMER PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT
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“Australia has lost a great son and the Church has lost a great leader with the passing of George Pell.
“His incarceration on charges that the High Court ultimately scathingly dismissed was a modern form of crucifixion; reputationally at least a kind of living death.
“His prison journals should become a classic: a fine man wrestling with a cruel fate and trying to make sense of the unfairness of suffering.”
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE PETER COMENSOLI
“Cardinal Pell was a very significant and influential Church leader, both in Australia and internationally, deeply committed to Christian discipleship.
“Cardinal Pell led the local Church of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001 with strong leadership in the Catholic faith and with good governance, before being transferred to Sydney and then to Rome.
“May eternal light shine upon him, and may he now rest in peace and rise to glory in the Lord.”
ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY ANTHONY FISHER
“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.”
AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE PRESIDENT TIMOTHY COSTELLOE
“Cardinal Pell provided strong and clear leadership within the Catholic Church in Australia … for more than 25 years.”
“His many strengths were widely recognised, both in Australia and around the world, as his Vatican appointments as Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and as a member of the Council of Cardinals, an advisory group to Pope Francis, testify.”
“Cardinal Pell’s impact on the life of the Church in Australia and around the world will continue to be felt for many years.”
NGO IN GOOD FAITH FOUNDATION CEO CLARE LEANEY
“For many survivors of clerical abuse, particularly here in Australia, George Pell was a symbol of a system that repeatedly put the interests of the Catholic Church above the interest and safety of individuals.
“As a result of this news, we anticipate a spike in individuals coming forward to disclose their experiences of institutional abuse for the first time.”
(Compiled by Alasdair Pal in Sydney; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
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