The Weekend Australian
July 1, 2017
When George Pell swaps his Rome apartment overlooking the Vatican for a Melbourne courtroom later this month, Italians will be saying a firm adieu, not expecting him to return.
Eighty-year-old Pope Francis, who placed extraordinary belief in Cardinal Pell to reform and institutionalise the tangled web of the church’s multi-billion-dollar finances and rich assets, has already foreshadowed his retirement in 2019.
If all goes well for Cardinal Pell, his anticipated return to an influential position — for he knows the church always looks after its own — will have been vastly watered down and almost impossible to enact if the Pope is gone.
Cardinal Pell has a string of enemies inside the Vatican, including one whose penchant for owning guns earned him the moniker “Cardinal Rambo’’.
This cardinal, real name Domenico Calcagno, heads the APSA — the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See — or the bank of the Vatican, with more than $1 billion in assets.
For the past three years, there has been enmity and a power tussle between cardinals Rambo and Pell — known as the Kangaroo Cardinal — over ultimate control of these monies.
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