December 9, 2020
By Terence Tobin
The thoughts and prayers and inner life of an innocent man
The publication of Cardinal George Pell’s Prison Journal this week by Ignatius Press in the United States comes just seven months after the High Court in a unanimous 7:0 decision threw out his conviction by a Melbourne jury on historic abuse charges. In a society which espouses the presumption of innocence in all criminal matters, and despite the refusal of his enemies to acknowledge it, the Court upheld his innocence.
That background helps in understanding the spirit and significance of the first volume of the Journal. It records the thoughts and prayers and inner life of an innocent man as he begins what in the end were to be over 400 days in solitary confinement. The reader is immediately struck by the peace at the heart of the journal as the Cardinal records in his cell of an evening his day-by-day reflections on the world beyond the prison while living a terrible uncertainty. The trial judge had sentenced him to at least three and a half years in custody.
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