David Marr on the long and often controversial career of a ‘bright kid’ who rose from rural Australia to the highest reaches of the Catholic church
A bright kid in an Australian bush town, George Pell kept his nose clean as he rose through the ranks to become chief of the Vatican’s finances. Despite a notably hard heart he was always a valuable asset to the church as a fearless conservative ideologue and a fine administrator.
Young Pell was plucked from Australia to train in Rome and at Oxford for the big career that was always beckoning. He returned to serve briefly and unhappily in a remote parish on the Murray before being brought into the heart of the diocese of Ballarat which in those years was a hell of child abuse.