Australian Cardinal George Pell passed away

Australian Cardinal George Pell passed away

Australian Cardinal George Pell, former Vatican Secretary of Economy, convicted of pedophilia died on January 10, 2023


Cardinal Pell’s heirs will have the right before inheriting from him to request the benefit of an inventory of what he could have left to his heirs and beneficiaries. There is a high chance that there could be civil lawsuits against Cardinal Pell for which he may owe more than what his estate is worth. In cases such as these, the best option is to renounce to the estate as an heir because heirs inherit all debts and monetary judgments.

    About Cardinal George Pell


    Cardinal George Pell was the former Vatican Secretary of the Economy. The sentence for pedophilia occurred in 2019. But, a year later, the conviction was reversed in April 2020 by the country’s highest court. The legal ground was the “benefit of reasonable doubt.”


    Considered a giant of the Catholic Church, Pell was accused and acquitted of sexual abuse in Australia- has died in Rome at the age of 81, as confirmed by an ecclesiastical official on Wednesday.


    In fact, two courts found Pell guilty of five counts of child molestation between 1996 and 1997. These included oral penetration committed against two Melbourne Cathedral choir boys. The victims were then 13 years old. At the time, Pell was the archbishop of the Australian city.


    Consequently, he received a sentence of six years in prison. Pell began serving in February 2019 at Barwon Prison, on the outskirts of Melbourne. After the conviction, Francisco, who had appointed him to his position in 2014, prohibited him from publicly exercising the priestly ministry and any contact with minors. The Vatican also removed him from the Holy See’s Secretariat of Economy.

    Australian Cardinal George Pell passed away
    Australian Cardinal George Pell passed away

    Charges of pedophilia against Australian Cardinal George Pell


    In April 2020, the High Court of Australia decided to overturn the child abuse charges against George Pell. In contrast to previous instances, Chief Justice Susan Kiefel indicated that the crime had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The accusations were mainly based on the testimony of one of the accusers, identified as “J,” who denounced the cardinal in 2014. Then, shortly after, the other assaulted minor, identified as “R,” died of a drug overdose.


    Based on the victim’s testimony, Pell abused them when he found them in the back room of the cathedral drinking sacramental wine. He also assured that he also attacked one of them in a corridor, more than a month after the first abuse.


    The cardinal said the trial against him “is not a referendum on the Catholic Church, or the Catholic Church in Australia, or the way the Australian Catholic Church handled the crime of pedophilia within the church.”

    Pell was on the list of possible successors to Benedict XVI in the conclave that elected Francis. Nonetheless,  Pell became a member of the closest circle of advisers to the current Pope.


    In 2017, he returned to Melbourne to face dozens of child abuse charges against him. The judge discarded most of them in initial instances. However, one former altar boy of the Cathedral survived. The trial, which took place in 2018, had to be held twice after the jury failed to reach a decision the first time.


    Pell did not testify during the proceedings, but read a statement in which he said the allegations involved “vile and horrifying conduct, contrary to all my values and the explicit teachings of the Church that I have represented my entire life.”

    Australian Cardinal George Pell passed away


    In fact, Cardinal Pell also remarked that, months before the events allegedly took place, he had created the first financial compensation fund for minors who had suffered abuse within the Australian Church, called “The Melbourne Response.”


    His lawyer, in turn, assured that Pell was in the habit of speaking with those attending Mass after the service. And that it would have been impossible for him to carry out the abuses wearing the archbishop’s attire, nor to have done so undetected due to the constant presence of people in the area.


    In addition, during the trial, the jury focused largely on determining Pell’s guilt beyond all reasonableness, and whether a five- or six-minute window represented enough time to abuse the children. The unanimous conclusion was affirmative in both cases.


    In a split vote, the Victorian state appeals court upheld the conviction. Two of the three judges argued that Pell had had time to abuse the children and that the verdict was final.


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