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.]
He 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.