Pope Francis welcomed Cardinal George Pell to the Vatican for a private audience in the Apostolic Palace yesterday. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Cardinal Pell was cleared earlier this year of sexual abuse charges after spending 13 months in prison, and it remains unclear whether he will take up another role in the Vatican.
The Vatican released a brief video clip of the meeting. In it, Francis is heard saying, “Good to see you” and “more than a year” – an apparent reference to the time Pell spent in prison.
After the two men were seated, the pope added: “Thank you for your testimony”, the National Catholic Register reports.
“It went very well,” Cardinal Pell told reporters in front of his residence just outside the Vatican walls.
Cardinal Pell returned to Rome on September 30 for the first time since 2017 to find a swirling financial corruption scandal implicating half a dozen Holy See employees, including one of his Vatican nemeses, Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
Cardinal Pell, brought in by Francis in 2014 to bring accountability and transparency to the Vatican’s opaque finances, was convicted but ultimately absolved by the High Court of allegations he molested two choirboys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne while he was archbishop in the 1990s.
He has long maintained his innocence and has suggested, without evidence, that his prosecution may have been linked to his efforts to clean up the Vatican’s finances.
Pope Francis sacked Cardinal Becciu last month amid allegations he embezzled Holy See money.
Pell returns to the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis (By Philip Pullella, Reuters via Sydney Morning Herald)
Pope Francis Receives Cardinal George Pell in Private Audience (National Catholic Register)
George Pell meets Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome (The Australian)