Pope Francis meets Cardinal George Pell


Pope Francis welcomed Cardinal George Pell to the Vatican for the first time since the Australian cardinal’s conviction for child sexual abuse was overturned.

The pair met in a private audience without masks.

In greeting Pell, Francis thanked him for his witness.

The meeting was confirmed in the Holy See’s daily bulletin.

The Vatican released a photo of the private audience showing Cardinal Pell sitting closely to the Pope inside his office while the pair were filmed by a camera crew.

Pell, whose conviction sex crimes was quashed in April, told reporters in front of his residence just outside the Vatican walls that his meeting with the Pope “went very well”.

Pell was granted an exemption to leave Australia, which closed its borders in March to incoming and outgoing citizens due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His return to Rome comes at a time when Pope Francis fired senior Cardinal, Giovanni Becciu over embezzlement accusations.

Becciu and Pell had clashed over each others authority and managing financial reforms.

Pell was brought in by Francis in 2014 to bring accountability and transparency to the Vatican’s opaque finances.

“The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments”, said Pell on Becciu’s sacking.

While Vatican experts say it is unlikely that Pell, 80, will return to his previous position it is unclear whether he will take another role in the Holy See.


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