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Cardinal Pell says he underestimated opposition to Vatican finance reform

September 24, 2021

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CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal George Pell has acknowledged that he “underestimated the ingenuity and resilience of the opponents of reform” at the Vatican. While some of those opponents were simply averse to change, he said, there was also “certainly opposition from people linked to corruption.”

Speaking on September 23 at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, the Australian prelate said that he now realizes he should have fought harder for a full audit of Vatican offices—a measure that he had ordered, but was countermanded by the Secretariat of State. He also said that he should have fought the ouster of the Vatican’s own auditor, Libero Milone.

Cardinal Pell said that the forthcoming financial-misconduct trial at the Vatican should shed more light on the sources of corruption. He voiced the hope that the trial might also explain the transfer of over $7 million in Vatican funds to Australia, which is “still a situation that’s unclear.” Some observers have suggested that the funds were used to promote the prosecution of Cardinal Pell on abuse charges—prosecution that eventually led to his conviction, which was later overturned by Australia’s top court.

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