Cardinal George Pell is reportedly set to appeal against Pope Francis’s decision to strip the much-loved Australian cleric of his senior administrative roles at the Vatican supposedly because he’s too old.
A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell told The Bug: “The Pope’s conviction – as he moves to modernise the Catholic Church – that Cardinal Pell is simply too old to effectively execute his Vatican duties has saddened the cardinal greatly to the point where he has been feeling himself very poorly of late.
“Cardinal Pell had worked assiduously to bring the Vatican’s haphazard bookkeeping and accounting procedures into the 21st Century. He was so close to achieving those aims which would have freed up far greater funds that could have gone towards the Catholic Church’s excellent field work around the globe helping those made dirt-poor by the church’s moral teachings.
“In some ways, he feels the Pontiff has treated him, not like an old man, but in some ways like a kiddie. Fiddling with his career like this has been a terribly injustice in many senior church minds.
“Many are inconsolable in finding themselves in a position where they are critical of the Bishop of Rome. Hugging one another seems barely enough to give them comfort over this terrible rift that’s developed between two of our church’s greatest ever leaders.
“I know priests in many parishes around Australia have also put on extra choirboy practice sessions to try to give them a bit of a lift.”
The spokesperson also expressed concern for the cardinal’s mental and physical wellbeing after being relieved of his Vatican duties.
“I’ve known Cardinal Pell for a very long time and he invariably used to arise in the mornings finding himself in rude good health and declaring: ‘I feel like a young boy today!’
“That zest for life has been ripped from his eminence’s grasp and that’s been a very sad thing for many of us to watch unfold over recent times.”
A senior church official who spoke to The Bug on condition of anonymity said it was well known that over many centuries most in the Catholic hierarchy have had an eye for youth and have always wanted to give a hand to up and comers.
“But in terms of modernising the church, once the Pontiff makes his mind up it’s hard to alter. Boy I wish I knew the secret to convincing him to change his decision.
“You’ve got to be subtle and it’s not a matter of showing him who wears the pants. Down the years that approach has never worked.
“Nor has the idea of running around and doing things behind the Pontiff’s back. Side with someone by all means if that’s how you feel. But when you think a decision is wrong you must stand up. The back door method never works,” the official said.