From the BBC:
Cardinal George Pell, whose conviction on child abuse charges shocked the Catholic Church before being quashed, has died at 81.
The former Vatican treasurer is Australia’s highest ranking Catholic cleric, and the most senior church figure ever jailed for such offenses.
Cardinal Pell served as Archbishop of Melbourne and Archbishop of Sydney then became one of the Pope’s top aides.
Background from The Pillar:
The cardinal underwent a hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, several sources told The Pillar, and reportedly died of complications from the surgery at approximately 8:50 p.m. in Rome.
The hip operation was initially deemed a success, with sources close to the cardinal saying that he had been able to make conversation with nurses in his recovery room, before he suddenly went into cardiac arrest shortly before he died.
Pell was appointed in 2014 the first prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, charged with implementing a program of financial reform in the Vatican. He was before that the Archbishop of Sydney, and had been before that Archbishop of Melbourne.
Pell was in 2018 convicted in Australia of committing sexual abuse during his time in Melbourne, but the conviction was in 2020 overturned by the High Court of Australia, after the cardinal spent nearly two years in prison.
But even while he faced criticism, Pell was regarded by many as one of the 20th century’s central figures in Australian Catholicism. He was regarded as a defender of orthodox Catholic doctrine, and an articulate spokesman for the evangelical and social mission of the Church.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…