With Australian Catholic Cardinal George Pell making the news in the last few weeks, and having recently watched the heartbreaking, harrowing, but totally absorbing Oscar winning film Spotlight, I wanted to revisit a conversation about George Pell with journalist David Marr, author of the Quarterly Essay (Issue 51, 2013) – The Prince, Faith, Abuse and George Pell. The conversation was published as an audio file on 6th October 2013. You'll find it here.
“The leading Catholic in the nation and spiritual adviser to Tony Abbott, Cardinal George Pell has played a key role in the greatest challenge to face his church for centuries: the scandal of child sex abuse by priests.
In The Prince, David Marr investigates the man and his career: how did he rise through the ranks? What does he stand for? How does he wield his authority? How much has he shaped his church and Australia? How has he handled the scandal?
Marr reveals a cleric at ease with power and aggressive in asserting the prerogatives of the Vatican. His account of Pell’s career focuses on his response as a man, a priest, an archbishop and prince of the church to the scandal that has engulfed the Catholic world in the last thirty years. This is the story of a cleric slow to see what was happening around him; torn by the contest between his church and its victims; and slow to realise that the Catholic Church cannot, in the end, escape secular scrutiny.
The Prince is an arresting portrait of faith, loyalty and ambition, set against a backdrop of terrible suffering and an ancient institution in turmoil.”
If you get a chance to see Spotlight I highly recommend it.