1: cardinal george pell has died at 81. he was the most senior catholic church figure ever jailed for child abuse offences. he served as archbishop of both melbourne and sydney, and was tasked with overseeing the vatican’s finances in 2014. in 2017, he returned to australia to face trial on child sex abuse charges, and a jury found him guilty of abusing two boys in the 1990s. he always maintained his innocence.
paragraph 2: he spent 13 months in prison before the high court of australia quashed the verdict in 2020. upon his release from custody, he returned to rome, and attended the funeral of pope benedict xvi last week. the archbishop of sydney described the news of his death as a “great shock”, while the archbishop of melbourne peter comensoli paid tribute to the cardinal as a man “deeply committed to christian discipleship”.
paragraph 3: cardinal pell was a very significant and influential church leader in australia and internationally, and was the former vatican treasurer. he died of heart complications after hip surgery. the cause of his death is believed to be related to the surgery, though the exact cause is yet to be determined. he maintained his innocence until his death, and his death has come as a shock to many.