The Pope thanked “the testimony” given by the Australian Cardinal during the whole process that kept him in prison for more than a year.
Newsdesk (October 15, 2020, Gaudium Press) — Recently, Pope Francis received Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop Emeritus of Sydney, and Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican Secretariat for Economic Affairs. He had returned to Rome on September 30. The encounter is significant: it is the first meeting with the Pontiff, once the High Court of Australia definitively acquitted the Prelate of the charges of sexual abuse, following more than 400 days of detention.
“Grazie per la testimonianza” (thanks for the testimony) the Pope said to Cardinal Pell at the moment he invited him to sit down. When the Cardinal’s final acquittal was announced, the Holy See welcomed the decision, recalling that the Cardinal had always claimed his innocence, and trusted the Australian judicial authority, “hoping that the truth would be proven.”
What did the Cardinal and the Pope talk about, apart from the pontiff’s recognition and his expressions of affection?
The official Vatican information does not reveal it. Casual observers may venture that the topic regarded details of the Calvary suffered by the Cardinal during the process that led him to prison for more than a year.
But additional sources, perhaps more bold, suggest that the topic could have been related to the enigmatic pronouncement of the Cardinal, following the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu: “The Holy Father has elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments. I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria.” Victoria is the place where the process against the Cardinal seems to have been ‘cooked up’. He was condemned in the first instance, then in the second by the Court of Appeals of the State of Victoria, and finally, he was acquitted by the Australian Supreme Court.
However, what could be the exact relationship hinted by the Australian Cardinal between the Vatican ‘stable’ and the Victorian one?
Some rumors, spread by the Italian media, suggest that the 700,000 Euros transferred by the Vatican Secretariat of State to Australia, would have been used to buy witnesses against Cardinal Pell. Furthermore, the allegation seems to be suggested by the Australian Cardinal himself, according to his aforementioned statement.
As it will be recalled, the Pope met with the Nuncio in Australia, Msgr. Adolfo Tito Yllana, last October 6. According to Vatican sources, the meeting dealt with the 700,000 Euros allegations.
Beyond the realm of mere speculations, Cardinal Pell confided to some journalists that his visit with the Pope had “gone very well”. Whatever goals the Cardinal had in mind with the meeting, seem to have been achieved.
By now, however, the saga seems to have reached the middle chapters. And many eyes will be posted on the forthcoming investigation when the Italian justice will investigate Cardinal Becciu and his management on various aspects of the Vatican economy.