Cardinal Pell’s story of holding onto hope amidst great suffering

If you’ve followed Church and world news over the past year or two, you likely know the story of Cardinal George Pell. Cardinal Pell is an Australian cardinal and has served the Church as Archbishop of Melbourne and Archbishop of Sydney before serving as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican. That is, until some serious allegations of sexual abuse surfaced.

Cardinal Pell pled not guilty to all charges, but after a jury’s conviction he was sentenced to six years in prison in March 2019. As his appeals made their way through the courts, Pell remained in solitary confinement until April 7, 2020, when the Australian High Court unanimously agreed to dismiss all charges and he was released.

His Eminence recently joined The Drew Mariani Show to share his experience of being falsely accused of such horrific crimes, and how God brought good out of even the most hopeless situation.

Holy Land Pilgrimage with Drew Mariani

“For the Church and for myself, my desire to vindicate my innocence was the thing that drove me,” Cardinal Pell told Drew Mariani.

He spoke about how he made it through such a trying time while being wrongly convicted and unjustly treated. “God has got no hands but ours and we sometimes say in Catholic theology, grace works through nature. In other words, if God’s going to do things, He will generally do them in a way through us, if we’re sensible,” said Cardinal Pell.

He spoke of the many letters and prayers he received, and joked that he thought too many people were praying for him and he found it a “bit disproportionate.” He shared that one young man who was dying of cancer offered his suffering and dying agony for Cardinal Pell, and that was extremely moving for him.

Over the course of 404 days in prison, Cardinal Pell was unable to celebrate Mass, but he was able to receive Holy Communion once a week and says that on a few occasions, priests were given special permission to celebrate Mass for him.

Since his innocence has been proved and all charges against him have been dropped, Cardinal Pell says, “overwhelmingly people have been very receptive and very supportive.” He acknowledged that the Church’s teaching on redemptive suffering was very helpful in getting him through the most difficult moments.

Hear more of his story by listening to the full interview:


Tune in to The Drew Mariani Show weekdays at 2-5pm CT only on Relevant Radio.

Cardinal George Pell
Holy Land Pilgrimage with Drew Mariani
Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.