Hit job on Card. Pell because he’s doing his job

His Eminence George Card Pell was appointed by Pope Francis to oversee cleaning up the finances of the Holy See. He is doing his job. And so as Pell drills into the financial corruption and is getting closer to the perps in the Vatican… SHOCK!… he is now being attacked on a personal level.

Damian Thompson has a good summary with comments on what has been going on:

The Sydney Morning Herald, no fan of Pell in his days as Archbishop of Sydney, has accused him of ‘living it up at the Holy See’s expense’. They cite leaked documents purporting to show he rented an office and apartment in Rome at a cost of £2,580 a month – which, unless I’ve got the figures wrong, isn’t very expensive. Plus £1,270 on ‘religious robes’. Oh, for God’s sake. [Indeed.  Find the most ignorant people you can to write this stories.] As a senior cardinal, Pell is required to wear a soutane plus other bits of church uniform, and since he’s massively tall with a rugby player’s build I’m guessing they can’t come off the peg. [Indeed.  That amount is chicken feed when one considers nearly any professional person’s clothing expenses.  And.. there’s more!]

[Update: I now learn that the robes were for the chapel in the Secretariat which had no vestments at all. So they’re not Cardinal Pell’s – they’re for any priest using the chapel.]

Card Pell conclave oathHe travels business class, too. As he should. [Exactly.  When he hits the ground, he has to hit the ground running.  I fly a good deal and, as I get older, the economy cabin is harder and harder to take for long flights.] Again, this is one hell of a big bloke, getting on a bit, with heart problems and a terrifyingly ambitious brief from Francis. It didn’t take him long to identify hundreds of thousands of euros hidden in the Vatican accounts. He revealed this in an article for the Catholic Herald, at which point we all knew that the Vatican mafia would arrange for him to have a little PR ‘accident’.

As this article in Crux explains, Pell’s Secretariat for the Economy this week formally required all heads of Vatican departments ‘to certify in writing that they’ve provided complete and accurate information’. This has never happened before, and the old boys from the Curia are flouncing around Rome like offended dowagers. There are rumours that, as an emergency measure, they’ve reduced the length of their lunches in the Borgo Pio trattorie from four to three hours.

Anyway, the tattling that’s going on is meant to drag Pell down.  That’s what thugs do and that seems to be how certain people in the Vatican are determined to work right now.

Today the Secretariat for the Economy issued a statement:



I love that last bit.

I wish he did have cappa. Maybe we should get him one.




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  1. cwillia1 says:

    I am no fan of Cardinal Mahony. But he, like Pell today, was a big, old man with huge responsibilities. People have criticized them both for taking first class on long, transcontinental flights where jet lag is a factor. I am a big, old man with few responsibilities and it wears me out to fly across the country for a vacation. These people are being ridiculous. Do they have any idea what a small office costs in a major city? Do they have any idea what a business suit costs if you can’t pull it off the rack?

  2. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Chaos in high places must not unwatched go. And things are in chaos.

  3. APX says:

    People are so dumb and ignorant. How tall is Cardinal Pell? I doubt anyone as tall as him would fit in econo class.

    Even if the clothing expense had been for him, someone of his height would require custom made clothes, or at minimum be charged more for additional cloth.

    As someone with narrow feet, I can’t buy inexpensive cheapo shoes because only designer brands (and even then only a few) make narrow widths. The last time I bought shoes two years ago, I had to pay $300 for a versatile dress shoe. My work shoes are even worse at $400. Such is life. My grandma accuses me of living high off the hog with such expensive designer clothes. Oh well.

  4. MrTipsNZ says:

    I’m as tall as Cardinal Pell, have to fly as long as him to get to Rome and am 30 years younger.
    It’s hard enough for me — give the man a break……

    I think it’s time a tried and tested model was employed. Remove every curia office and make all candidates reapply for new ones, after providing copies of budgets from last year and agreeing to sign an oath of fidelity and transparency. Major drama and highjinks will ensue, but I suspect it will work.

    And I’ll say it again – don’t these people remember that it is possible for the lowest knave and highest prince of the Church to share the same pit in hell? Marana tha Lord Jesus….

  5. Charles E Flynn says:

    I laughed when I saw the Huffington Post article that mentioned the bill from Gamarelli. My reaction was “Good for Cardinal Pell, he knows where to shop”.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    We are going to see more and more of this nonsense for several reasons, and one is the horrible attitude of anti-clericalism, which hates all trappings of ritual, including dress. All the vestments that were burned by those who have hated the Church in the past are merely missing emblems of this hatred.

    The man is a Cardinal, not an altar boy. As to flights, I am a very short person and the new planes make me feel squeezed in and most of those seats are terribly uncomfortable.

    Seculars want to find fault with saints and good people. This fault-finding assuages their own consciences. Christ was criticized over and over again by the same type of persons-hypocrites.

    Mark 2:23-3:6 Douay-Rheims

    23 And it came to pass again, as the Lord walked through the corn fields on the sabbath, that his disciples began to go forward, and to pluck the ears of corn.
    24 And the Pharisees said to him: Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
    25 And he said to them: Have you never read what David did when he had need, and was hungry himself, and they that were with him?
    26 How he went into the house of God, under Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the loaves of proposition, which was not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave to them who were with him?
    27 And he said to them: The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.
    28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath also.

  7. Robbie says:

    Isn’t it interesting Vatileaks, which drove Benedict from the papacy, [Ummm… we don’t know that.] has sprung back into action with Cardinal Pell, the lone conservative with an important Vatican position, in its crosshairs. And make no mistake, this has nothing to do with the way Cardinal Pell spends money. This has everything to do with Cardinal Pell’s adherence to orthodox Catholic teachings. This is all about the Synod.

    Dr. Peters suggested there is chaos in the highest reaches of the Vatican. Quite frankly, I’d go a step farther and suggest there is now a war being waged from some of the highest reaches of the Vatican against conservative Cardinals and Bishops who are unwilling to capitulate on doctrine, especially when it comes to communion for the divorced and remarried.

    This hit job on Cardinal Pell is a disgrace, but we should realize the liberals and progressives, whether they be in the Catholic Church, the American government, or elsewhere, play to win. They don’t care about anything other than their liberal objectives and they won’t hesitate to destroy anyone who gets in their way. For instance, Cardinal Marx said the German Church is not a subsidiary or Rome. In other words, he and the German bishops will do as they please.

    These are frightening and concerning times.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    What APX said. And you can sign me, 13 AA.

  9. Johnny Domer says:

    It’s such a bizarre attitude we take towards bishops who “live it up.” Even a small American Catholic diocese has millions and millions of dollars in property, assets, and investments; manages millions upon millions of dollars each year in contributions; must deal with staffing, salaries, insurance for an enormous number of parish and school employees; and oversees the disbursements of millions of dollars to charities like the local Catholic Charities organization. A CEO of any comparably-sized charity would be making at least 6 figures. A bishop (who is usually an older fellow) is not a hypocrite, or greedy, or scandalous if he drives something nicer than a 1995 Toyota Corolla and lives in an apartment bigger than a Cracker Jack box. Fact of life: old people get tired more often, get uncomfortable more often, get worn out and annoyed by conditions that a 25-year-old doesn’t care about. It is entirely legitimate to show deference and accommodation for a person’s age, particularly when he is dealing with a lot of responsibilities.

    Cardinal Pell is (maybe a bit) older, bigger, taller, travels more, travels longer distances, and has way more responsibility than most diocesan bishops even do. Cardinal Pell is basically the CFO of THE ENTIRE CATHOLIC CHURCH. [Ummmm…. no. But he is something like CFO of the Vatican City State.] I think he can fly business class, have a decent apartment, maybe even have (gasp!) a housekeeper, and buy a nice suit-equivalent.

  10. pannw says:

    I had to Bing soutane to find out that it was a cassock. Ok… Well, I had a conversation last year with a couple of seminarians who were serving Mass at my parish over the summer and one of them mentioned how shockingly expensive a nice plain cassock was. One of the newly ordained priests had just bought one and it was hundreds of dollars. I imagine a Cardinal’s is a bit more elaborate and therefore expensive and factor in the extra large size. Frankly, I was surprised at how frugal his clothing bill was. I’m really sick of these hypocrites moaning about the “wealth” of the Church when they are all gaga over their hypocrite celebrity heroes partying it up on massive yachts while preaching to us that we need to drive a horse and buggy. Ugh…

  11. benedetta says:

    When paid pr (oh, excuse me, “the media”) hacks attack prelates of the Church on behalf of antiChristianbigotsincorporated, they devise a simple flowchart system (that or a roulette wheel), and the options found therein are shop worn and time honored, if not by this date totally irrelevant and absurd when examined against facts, public record, reality, the truth. In this case we have an example of aim at Church Prelate Selected Target and fire “expensive religious robes” and “flies business class” to denote The Alleged Riches of The Church. Notably about this system of pr/media is: it requires no fact checking, no background or understanding of religion (the less the better), no scrupulous concern for reality (evidently), and, the process does not require any faculties of reason or rational thought process. Probably it’s all being done via code at this point anyway…

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The only appropriate comment would be to appropriate President Truman’s election slogan. It would even rhyme. But I’m afraid some of the brethren might be scandalized, and yeah, I don’t want to say anything too bad about those Curia members who are being good. So….

    “Cardinal Pell, give ’em Purgatory!”

  13. dhgyapong says:

    Someone ought to crowd fund a cappa magna for Cardinal Pell

  14. Grumpy Beggar says:

    From the OP :

    “I wish he did have cappa. Maybe we should get him one.”

    dhgyapong says:

    “Someone ought to crowd fund a cappa magna for Cardinal Pell”

    Okay. . . but once we get it, we probably shouldn’t mail it to him .

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  15. Grumpy Beggar says:

    A little clarity here : The Sydney Morning Herald might not be totally in love with Cardinal Pell, but they did not actually accuse Cardinal Pell of living it up at the Holy See’s expense – Tom Kington of the Los Angeles Times wrote that story.

    Have a look at the bottom of the page of the Sydney Morning Herald’s article, here and it’s clearly stamped “Los Angeles Times, Reuters.”

    here it is again running in the Canberra Times

    And here’s the original article from the LA Times.

    An American wrote those words guys – not the Aussies – they only ran the story. Blame this one on the Wannabe – not the Wallaby.

  16. The Cobbler says:

    benedetta, for comparison, I am fairly certain that half-decent fact-checking could be done via code too. (How decent depends on the data sources available to it.)

    Grumpy Beggar… so true!

  17. Bea says:

    I was wondering how long it would take before he became a “target”.

    I read where the bill was for chapel vestments for any priest to use in a certain chapel and not for him personally.

    Ho hum, who’s next? Cardinal Mueller?

  18. frjim4321 says:

    I’m not a fan of this prelate for a few reasons that are not pertinent here, but my impression is that he is effective in his current position. I have no problem with him being maintained in a lifestyle that is proportionate to his level or responsibility and accomplishment. With regard to the cappa magna the statement is a bit disingenuous in that he may not OWN one but he is certainly on record as wearing one. Bishops may not OWN things that have been provided for their use, even though they themselves may have approved the ostentatious squander of significant funds expended for the satisfaction of their liturgical predilections.

    [That line of thought has a familiar ring to it. Let’s see… “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?” Yes, I believe that’s it.]

  19. Peter in Canberra says:

    Cardinal Pell is a big man. But he didn’t play rugby he played Australian Rules Football.
    He played in the ruck position for the Richmond (Melbourne) Football Club in the then Victorian Football League.
    Aussie Rules is a bit like gaelic football and is the main game of the southern states of Australia, while the 2 rugby codes prevail in the north.
    I imagine that his ethos is ‘play the ball not he man’ but it seems some of his confreres, and certainly not secular media, don’t share his sportsmanship.

  20. Peter in Canberra says:


    while looking for evidence to back up my recollection of George Pell VFL ruckman I found this story.
    The particular Australian context is the Royal Commission into abuse in institutions which may not be much known by North American readers. However there is a lot in this article that paints an enlightening picture of George Cardinal Pell, priest and man.

  21. tperegrinus says:

    It makes me unconfortable to even think of +++Pell in an economy seat for a 9 hour flight from Sydney to Asia or the middle east and then a 15 hour flight to Italy with his size and his artificial hip then having to hit work within a day or two. Thrombosis here we come. That’s presumably why they made business class: for more senior people to travel long distances and be able to work on the way and when they arrive.

  22. William Tighe says:

    I followed the link that “Peter in Canberra” provided above, and came to an article which, in its way, as exemplary an instance of of a journalistic “hatchet job” as I have seen in quite some time.

  23. tioedong says:

    reminds me of the hit job on the local Filipino bishops because they opposed the Reproductive health bill…they were accused of being bribed with expensive SUV’s, and it was suggested they drove around town in the SUV’s to show off.
    The bishops, who had been given pickup trucks and SUV’s with funds from the Lottery that funds charities, so they could travel to isolated villages for charitable works and also to say mass, promptly drove their trucks to Manila, parked them in front of the Congress and left them there.

  24. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Cardinal Pell’s Catholic faith appears to be connected to a solid concrete base – and its immovability is the sort of thing which tends to unsettle certain enemies of the Church : There are several different groups who are constantly attempting to discredit him – using whichever dishonest means that happen to be at their disposal, and fabricating whatever they need to, in order to make their lie appear more appealing .

    Cardinal Pell saw right through what the Human Rights Commissions were being used for by different lobbies/pressure groups. And when the Human Rights Commission conducted an inquiry (which lasted over a year) into freedom of religion in Australia he saw exactly where they were headed too. We can get the general idea from a couple of excerpts from Zenit’s [2009] Cardinal Pell on Religion, Human Rights and Policy :

    “As many of you are aware, the Human Rights Commission has been conducting an inquiry into freedom of religion in Australia for over a year. The only question about its outcome is how bad it will be . . .

    In case there was any doubt about the matter, in August Mr Calma and Conrad Gershevitch delivered a conference paper on the inquiry which opened with these words:

    ‘The compatibility of religious freedom with human rights is the subject of the most comprehensive study ever undertaken in Australia in this area. …’ [2] (emphasis added).

    Let us spell this out: the clear meaning of these words is that religious freedom is not a human right and may not be compatible with human rights.”

    Anyone who has read or followed Cardinal Pell at length, can’t help but notice his glowing sense of humour which becomes manifest even in those instances where a serious point is being considered:

    “As for same-sex marriage—I avoid the word ‘gay,’ because it’s a word that has been colonized by one group and because homosexuals on the whole are as miserable as the rest of us—this is really a second-order issue. Most Australians believe in tolerance and the removal of discrimination, but would stop there as far as redefining the family goes.

    The real task is finding ways to strengthen traditional marriage, to reduce divorce rates, which have begun climbing again, and to ensure more children grow up with a mother and a father living under the same roof.”

    The Battle For God (World Catholic Report)

    Then, there’s that true jewel he delivered at WYD in Madrid which drew a standing ovation :

    “Young people are in the Church to set it on fire. Old people are there to make sure it does not burn down.”

    Cardinal George Pell Addresses His Young Flock, No Subject Off Limits

    He has described to a T the very platform which continues to choke the freedom out of the majority of us who would strive to follow a more virtuous ideal:
    ” Religious freedom is not a human right and may not be compatible with human rights.”
    Is there any other statement in this world of ours which doesn’t become more true with each passing day ?

    Because our attention was partially focused on what was happening with Cardinal Burke last October, some of us may have missed or lightly passed over the working group report-based assessment Cardinal Pell gave the press midway through that Synod on the family. Here’s a little refresher on how he perceived that peculiar Kasperesque element:

    “Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some — very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers — it’s only the tip of the iceberg, it’s a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions,” Cardinal Pell said. “The church cannot go in that direction. It would be a capitulation from the beauties and strengths of the Catholic tradition, where people sacrificed themselves for hundreds, for thousands of years to do this.”

    Cardinal Pell:Synod Says No to Secular Agenda

    Cardinal Pell has vision. And he has a stalwart faith. Those outstanding qualities should make it easier for us to understand why the Church’s enemies and radical progressives are nervous and discouraged when they see him appointed to a senior position – Prefect for the Economy of the Holy See/Prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy. On the upside, that should be something which encourages us.

    I pray : God bless Cardinal Pell with continued health and strength of body, mind and soul, and, dear Lord, deliver him not to the will of his enemies.

  25. Peter in Canberra says:

    re William Tighe’s comment – sadly you will find no lack of hatchet jobs on Cardinal Pell in the Australian press. He has many enemies within and without the church here.

  26. Adam Welp says:

    “[That line of thought has a familiar ring to it. Let’s see… “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?” Yes, I believe that’s it.]”

    Fr. Z for the win! All due respect Fr. Jim, but Fr. Z got ya pretty good with that one. This line deserves to be in Raymond Arroyo’s next book of zingers.

  27. JesusFreak84 says:

    When did the Vatican learn English sarcasm? =-p Makes me wonder if Pell himself saw the statement XD

  28. Maria says:

    I did not hear nor read anything about him prior to this debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8hy8NxZvFY. @44min, he defended the Holy Eucharist. From then on, I started to pray for him. I just thought that he will have a rough road ahead.

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