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A prelate who doesn't pull punches

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Mar 03, 2004

The reporter doesn't intend a sympathetic portrait, but you've got to read this profile of Cardinal Pell.

He was signed as a former professional football player. He recognizes that he's now seen as "the bully bishop from central casting." So how does he plan to change? Cardinal pell says: "I might be a little bit – when I think the chips are down – I might be a little bit more determined."

And if that isn't encouraging enough in itself, he thinks the next generation of Australian priests will make him look "wishy-washy!"

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Mar. 04, 2004 12:23 AM ET USA

    I caught Zenit tonight and they ran the story as basically "Cardinal Pell repents of being too soft on moral teaching for 40 years". May God reward him amply for his contrition and example to all of us. I don't know which I look forward to more; the thought of him one day being a Pope, or the army of young priests that he mentions will make him look wishy-washy by comparision. Thanks for the great boost to the faith, Cardinal Pell; Hope we get a Cardinal Fessio one day too!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2004 6:19 PM ET USA

    When George Cardinal Pell was made a Cardinal, I passed the opinion that he could well be the right man to fill the shoes of John Paul II and those who heard me looked askance and made comments about his hard line Catholicism. I remember the media beat-up when he was faced by a line of rainbow sash wearing homosexuals coming to him for Communion - a set up situation of course. He refused them all. I stick by my comment.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2004 3:36 PM ET USA

    quite a contrast between this interview and what we have been seeing on tv from bishops recently. or even DignityUSA's thanking of Bishop Gregory for not scapegoating gay clergy for the abuse problem. or no one publically decrying the gay subculture in the clergy, or ...on and on.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2004 1:58 PM ET USA

    Yipes! A real bishop! A real Cardinal! I didn't think it was possible. I know cloning is wrong, but couldn't we, just this once, clone him?

  • Posted by: AveMaria580 - Mar. 03, 2004 12:34 PM ET USA

    I wish our U.S. bishops would get as clear as Cardinal Pell concerning the difference between pastoral and sentiment. The pastoral separated from the doctrinal is heresy and in the end cruelty rather than charity. Pastoral does not mean that you allow people to do anything they want to just because they might feel bad otherwise. They should feel bad now and perhaps come to repentance, rather than feel bad for all of eternity. Lord, gives us more such men in the episcopate.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2004 11:46 AM ET USA

    The man's a gem! On refusing to give his 'blessing' to the 19-year lesbian relationship of his ex-nun cousin: "I can bless them as persons, I can encourage them to do better in their weakness but I cannot bless their wrongdoing...I can't say what's wrong is right." Bishop Gumbleton et al. take note and learn...

  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Mar. 03, 2004 10:49 AM ET USA

    Yes, quite an article. Rare man in these days of institutionalized mediocrities. When I look at our prelates and their etiolated complexions, and remember their soft hands, I hearken to those days along the shore of the Sea of Galilee...when strong hearts, strong hands took those of wishy-washy Man, he. Burned from the sun, toughened from trudging up and down the stoney roads, He inflamed the world with God's new covenant.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Mar. 03, 2004 10:48 AM ET USA

    No disrespect to our current Holy See intended, but I would love to see the USCCB and CCCCB press releases the week after a Cardinal Pell was elected by the College of Cardinals as Holy See some day in the distant future.