Deceased Cardinal Calls Key Part Of Pope Francis’ Agenda A ‘Toxic Nightmare’ In Posthumously Published Article

Roman Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who died Tuesday, denounced a major part of Pope Francis’ agenda in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Spectator. was falsely accused of sexual misconduct in the late 1990s, penned an op-ed published Wednesday in The Spectator in which he warns the church of a “toxic nightmare.”

Pell, who was archbishop of Melbourne from 1996–2001 and archbishop of Sydney from 2001–2014, died in Rome at the age of 81 due to complications from a hip replacement surgery.

The cardinal was removed from his position as finance minster and adviser to Pope Francis in 2018 due to allegations of sexual abuse. An Australian court found Pell guilty of five charges of child sex offenses, but the High Court of Australia later overturned his convictions. Pell had already served two years in prison. (RELATED: Judge Rules Catholic Hospital Discriminated Against Transgender Individual By Not Offering Sex-Change Surgery)

The article in The Spectator was intended to be published while Pell was still alive, but his sudden death “may add extra force to his words,” a note from editor Damien Thompson reads. Thompson also wrote that Pell was willing to “face the fury of Pope Francis … when it was published.”

Pell denounced as a “toxic nightmare” an upcoming “Synod on Synodality” in October, in which bishops will listen to those who feel “excluded or marginalized” by the church.

“What is one to make of this potpourri, this outpouring of New Age good will?” Cardinal Pell writes. “It is not a summary of Catholic faith or New Testament teaching. It is incomplete, hostile in significant ways to the apostolic tradition and nowhere acknowledges the New Testament as the Word of God, normative for all teaching on faith and morals.”

The Synod on Synodality — which one Catholic journalist called “the greatest gamble of his papacy” — aims to create a collaborative approach in which the church’s members “journey together, gather in assembly and take an active part in [the church’s] evangelizing mission. The synod encourages Catholics to ask themselves how they can amplify “the voice of minorities, the discarded, and the excluded” and “identify prejudices and stereotypes that hinder our listening,” according to a preparatory document circulated by the Vatican.

Pell made controversial efforts to reform finances at the Vatican, and Pope Francis later appointed him to lead financial reform at the Vatican. He has been described as a “champion of conservative values” in the Church.

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