George Pell is the most recognisable face of the Australian Catholic Church. He was the Ballarat boy with the film-star looks who studied at Oxford and rose through the ranks to become the Vatican’s indispensable ‘Treasurer’. As an outspoken defender of church orthodoxy, ‘Big George’s’ ascendancy within the clergy was remarkable and seemingly unstoppable.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse has brought to light horrific stories about sexual abuse of the most vulnerable and provoked public anger at the extent of the cover-up. George Pell has always portrayed himself as the first man in the Church to tackle the problem. But questions about what the Cardinal knew, and when, have persisted.
The nation’s most prominent Catholic is now the subject of a police investigation into allegations spanning decades that he too abused children. Louise Milligan is the only Australian journalist who has been privy to the most intimate stories of complainants.
She pieces together a series of disturbing pictures of the Cardinal’s knowledge and his actions, many of which are being told here for the first time.
Conspiracy or cover-up? Cardinal uncovers uncomfortable truths about a culture of sexual entitlement, abuse of trust and how ambition can silence evil.