Cardinal George Pell, a prominent and divisive figure within the Catholic Church, passed away on February 2021 at the age of 81. A former Vatican treasurer, Pell was the highest-ranking Catholic priest ever imprisoned in Australia and the most senior Church official ever. Despite the controversies that surrounded him, Cardinal Pell’s life and career were shaped by a deep sense of faith and a commitment to traditional Catholic values.
This article takes an in-depth look at his background, his rise to power, the events that led to his downfall, and his death which brings conflicting reactions from people. Read on to learn more about the man behind the headlines, and the legacy he leaves behind.
Who are George Pell’s parents? The Family and Upbringing of Cardinal George Pell
George Pell was born on June 8, 1941, in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, to George Arthur and Margaret Lillian Pell, née Burke. His father was a non-practicing Anglican from Leicestershire, England, who had won the heavyweight boxing championship in his youth. His mother was an orthodox Irish Catholic.
Growing up, Pell had a close relationship with his family, particularly his mother. He was the second of five children and had three sisters and one brother. His mother instilled in him a strong sense of faith and commitment to the Catholic Church from a young age.
Pell’s father, George Arthur, worked as a gas fitter and had a keen interest in sports, particularly boxing. He passed on this love of sports to his son and they would often train together. Pell, who was a strong and athletic child, would go on to play Australian rules football at a high level.
Despite being raised in a devout Catholic household, George Pell’s family was not particularly wealthy. The family lived in a working-class neighborhood and struggled to make ends meet at times. Nevertheless, Pell’s parents did their best to provide for their children and instilled in them a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility.
Pell’s childhood was not without its challenges, he had to undergo 24 surgeries as a toddler to get rid of an abscess in his throat. Despite the trauma and discomfort, it didn’t prevent him from being a strong athlete and succeeding in his academic and religious pursuits.
Overall, George Pell’s family played a significant role in shaping his character and his decision to pursue a career in the Catholic Church. His parents instilled in him a strong sense of faith and a commitment to service, which would go on to define his life and career.
Did George Pell have a wife?
Cardinal George Pell never married, so he did not have a wife. However, it is worth mentioning that as a Catholic Priest, he had taken a vow of celibacy, which means not engaging in sexual activities and dedicating oneself to the Church’s mission.
It is a commitment that many priests take upon ordination to the priesthood and maintain throughout their lifetime. He had also spoken about the importance of celibacy as a Catholic priest and defended it as a positive aspect of the Church’s teachings.
The Death of Cardinal George Pell and Its Impact on the Catholic Church
The news of Cardinal George Pell’s passing on February 2021, came as a shock to the Catholic Church and the world at large. The former Vatican treasurer and the most senior Catholic Church official ever to be imprisoned in Australia had passed away at the age of 81, following complications from hip surgery.
Pell’s passing marks the end of a tumultuous chapter in the history of the Church, marked by allegations of child abuse, conviction, and acquittal, and a highly publicized trial that captivated the world’s attention. Throughout it all, Pell maintained his innocence and insisted on his innocence, but his death brings an end to the legal proceedings and any chance of closure for the victims of the alleged abuse.
Pell’s passing was met with a range of reactions from Church officials, politicians, and the public. Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli paid tribute to Pell as “a very significant and influential Church leader,” while Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his death would be a “shock to many.”
Despite the controversies that surrounded him, Cardinal George Pell’s passing represents a significant loss for the Catholic Church and for all those whose lives he touched. His death is a reminder of the challenges that the Church continues to face in addressing the issue of child abuse, and the importance of ensuring justice for all victims of abuse.
The Path to the Priesthood: The Education of Cardinal George Pell
In Ballarat, Pell attended Loreto Convent and St. Patrick’s College, where he graduated. From 1956 to 1959, Pell competed for St Patrick’s in Australian rules football as a ruckman on the first XVIII. In 1959, he joined the Richmond Football Club and participated in VFL reserves for the team.
At Corpus Christi College, which was then situated in Werribee, Pell started his studies for the priesthood in 1960. In his second and third years, he continued to play football and was a class prefect. He was given the assignment to carry on his studies at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome in 1963. On August 15, 1966, he was consecrated as a deacon.
The Rise and Fall of Cardinal George Pell’s Career
Cardinal George Pell’s career was marked by a deep commitment to the Catholic Church and a rise to the highest ranks of the Church’s hierarchy. Starting from his studies for the priesthood in Werribee and Rome to his ordination and service as a parish priest and bishop in Victoria, to his tenure as Archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, and his appointment as the Vatican’s treasurer.
Pell’s early career was marked by his strong commitment to education and pastoral work. Upon his ordination as a priest, he served in parishes in Ballarat, Victoria, where he was heavily involved in education and pastoral work. He was a teacher and chaplain at Catholic schools and was also involved in the formation of future priests. He was appointed as an official of the Catholic Education Office and the director of the Catholic Theological College.
Pell was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, and in 1996, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Melbourne. During his tenure as Archbishop, he was known for his strong and direct style of leadership, and his commitment to traditional Catholic values and teachings. He also became a strong advocate for the Church’s response to the sexual abuse scandals that were becoming public during that time.
Pell was appointed as the Archbishop of Sydney, the most senior Catholic Church position in Australia. During his tenure, he was known for his conservative views and commitment to traditional Church teachings on issues such as abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage.
He also played a significant role in the Church’s response to the sexual abuse scandals and was heavily involved in the establishment of the Melbourne Response and Towards Healing, which was the Church’s efforts to address the abuse scandals.
Pope Francis appointed Pell as the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, which made him responsible for the Church’s finances on a global level. This appointment marked the first time that a layperson was appointed to such a high-ranking position within the Church’s financial hierarchy. As the Vatican’s treasurer, Pell was responsible for managing the Church’s financial resources and implementing financial reforms to ensure transparency and accountability.
2017 – 2020
Pell served as the Vatican’s treasurer until 2017 when he resigned from his position to return to Australia to face child sex abuse charges. The charges related to alleged abuse that occurred while he was the Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s, he was convicted in 2018, but his conviction was overturned by the High Court of Australia in 2020. Despite being cleared of the charges, the allegations and trial were significant events in his life and career. And his death was marked by polarizing reactions by people and brought conflicting emotions for many.
How much net worth did George Pell have at the time of his death?
The net worth of Cardinal George Pell is not publicly known, as he did not disclose his financial information during his lifetime. However, as a high-ranking official within the Catholic Church and the Vatican’s former treasurer, he would have had access to significant funds and resources.
During his tenure as the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Archbishop of Sydney, Pell would have been privy to the financial workings of the Church in those regions, which would have included revenues from donations, investments, and properties.
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Pell lived a relatively simple lifestyle and did not indulge in luxuries or lavish spending. While living in the Vatican, he resided in a small apartment and did not own a car. Upon his return to Australia, he lived in a small rented apartment and did not own any real estate properties. He had no known business ventures or investments.
Given the lack of information available on his net worth, it is not possible to estimate his net worth at the time of his death. However, his position within the Church would have undoubtedly provided him with access to significant financial resources.