Cardinal George Pell will tender his resignation to the Pope on Wednesday, not due to his involvement in child sex abuse allegations, but because church protocol requires it.
Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, who recently gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, turns 75 on 8 June. Under protocols introduced by Pope Francis in 2014, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy is obliged to present his resignation upon turning 75.
However, don’t expect Cardinal Pell to be relieved of his duties any time soon. The Pope is under no obligation to accept his resignation. In fact, the Vatican Treasurer is tipped to stay in his role for at least a few more years, due to his success in bringing the Vatican’s finances under control.
Pope Francis, who has already backed Cardinal Pell after his reformation of Vatican finances drew criticism from other high-ranking clerics, may not accept his resignation until a successor is appointed, which could be a long, drawn-out process.
In any case, an announcement is not likely to be made soon.
One factor that could work against Cardinal Pell retaining his role as the church’s financial controller, are the many calls for his resignation, after his denial of the extent of the abuse suffered by children at the hands of paedophile priests in Ballarat – the parish to which the Cardinal belonged as a priest and for which he was later responsible in his role as auxiliary bishop.
Although Cardinal Pell enjoys the Pope’s full confidence, the public outcry for his resignation may outweigh his value to the church.
Read more at The Age
Do you think the Pope should immediately accept Cardinal Pell’s resignation? Could this be seen as some form of justice for his ‘involvement’ in child sex abuse allegations? Would the Catholic Church be wise to cut its losses on Cardinal Pell?