Cardinal George Pell Gets Heckled As He Arrives In Rome
Cardinal George Pell has received an icy reception after touching down in Rome.
The 79-year-old left Australia earlier this week to head back to the Vatican.
When it was revealed Pell was allowed to leave Australia, despite the country having strict controls on who could enter and leave, many Australians were upset at the perceived preferential treatment.
Reporters flanked him as he stepped out of his vehicle and was hounded with questions about his purpose to the Holy City and instead just said it was 'lovely to be back'.
However, when the former high-ranking Catholic got towards the building where he would have to self-isolate, he was heckled by a stranded Australian who couldn't get home.
She yelled: "We hate you, we hate you. He's destroyed the church in Australia with the damage he's done there.
"We're all waiting for flights to go back [to Australia] and this [bleep] can just walk out here freely.
"We are devastated that he's here in Rome, and we hope that Pope Francis does something about this."
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9News reports Pell is back at the Vatican to have a private meeting with Pope Francis after he's had a test for the coronavirus. It will be their first face-to-face meeting (albeit with some social distancing) since 2017.
A Vatican spokesperson has told the AFP news agency that no meeting has yet been organised between His Holiness and Pell. He was meant to be returning just to clear out his apartment, however he might stay longer.
The Vatican is currently dealing with a large embezzlement and corruption scandal and, considering Pell used to be the Catholic Church's treasurer, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that he's needed in the Holy City.
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu has resigned from the church after allegations emerged he had given at least €600,000 (£550,000/AUD$981,000) to a charity cooperative run by one of his brothers.
Becciu was surprised by the claims and says he would give his life for the pope.
During a news conference the 72-year-old said: "They accuse me of embezzlement and of favouring [my] brothers, surreal. I have not enriched my family. I hope the pope realises that it is all a misunderstanding."
Pell left his post as the Pope's finance minister in 2017 to fly back to Australia to defend himself against child sexual abuse allegations. He later became the highest ranking Catholic to be formally charged with child sexual abuse offences.
Pell was eventually found guilty of molesting two Victorian choir boys in the 1990s when he was the Archbishop of Melbourne. However, after serving more than a year behind bars, the High Court acquitted him of those charges and he was free to leave.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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