Pope Francis receives Cardinal George Pell

Pope Francis receives Cardinal George Pell Pope Francis with Cardinal George Pell

Former Vatican finance czar Cardinal George Pell met with Pope Francis in a private audience at the Vatican Monday.

The Holy See press office said that the audience took place October 12, but gave no further details.

A video of the meeting showed the Pope shaking the cardinal’s hand, while saying: “It is a pleasure to meet you again.”

After the two men were seated, the Pope added: “Thank you for your testimony.”

A source close to the cardinal told the National Catholic Register that the meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, was “very warm and cordial”.

Cardinal Pell, the former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, arrived in Rome September 30 on his first visit to the city since he left in 2017 for Australia to prove his innocence of abuse charges.

The Australian cardinal returned less than a week after the dramatic resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu. Pope Francis asked Cardinal Becciu to resign as prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints and from the rights extended to members of the College of Cardinals amid allegations of financial misconduct against the Italian prelate.

Cardinal Becciu had worked previously as the number two-ranking official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, where, the Catholic News Agency has previously reported, he repeatedly clashed with Cardinal Pell over the reform of Vatican finances.


Cardinal Pell responded to the news of Cardinal Becciu’s resignation with gratitude.

“The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments,” he wrote in a statement.

Cardinal Becciu has denied claims in the Italian media that he transferred money to Australia in an attempt to influence Cardinal Pell’s trial.

In a statement issued through his lawyer, he said that he had never sought to interfere in the process.

The Pope asked Cardinal Pell in 2014 to take charge of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy and to lead efforts at reforming Vatican financial affairs. After charges of sexual abuse were brought by Victoria police, the prelate took temporary leave of his role in 2017 to return to Australia and defend his name.

Cardinal Pell faced allegations from a single accuser related to his time as bishop of Melbourne. He spent 13 months in solitary confinement after he was initially convicted and given a six-year prison sentence, before being vindicated on appeal to the High Court.

“I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria,” Cardinal Pell said in his statement following Cardinal Becciu’s resignation.