June 30 2017
The Pope is likely shaking the dust off a letter of resignation from one of his top men, Australian cardinal George Pell.
The letter has been gathering dust in a Vatican file for just over a year – Pell submitted it, as obliged, when he turned 75 last year.
Francis, if truly committed to reassuring the faithful a reforming Church had zero tolerance for a culture of silence, or worse, a wilful and deliberate cover-up of child sex abuse, would have said a year ago, “Thank you, George”, and breathed a sigh of relief.
This is because controversy and George Pell have been inseparable from the time he was a priest in the Australian diocese of Ballarat in the 1970s to his ascension in 2014 as a chief adviser to the Pope and the Holy See’s main beancounter.
And much of that controversy has been about the former archbishop’s responses to priests who sinned grossly against children and his legalistic solution for dealing with abuse survivors.
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