Australian cardinal George Pell, prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy, after having been archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, died in Rome at the age of 81.
The cardinal did not overcome the complications caused by hip surgery.
In recent days he had attended the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the Vatican.
Pell had been placed by Pope Francis on 24 February 2014 at the head of the new Secretariat for the Economy and in fact at the head of the economic reforms undertaken by the Pope.
On June 29, 2017, however, the Australian police confirmed the imminent state of indictment against Cardinal Pell for "serious sexual crimes" against minors, including that of rape, which would have been committed in the seventies, when Pell was parish priest in his hometown, Ballarat.
At the same time, the Holy See confirmed the news of Cardinal Pell's indictment and his departure for Australia "to face the accusations that have been leveled against him".
On 11 December 2018, Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old altar boys by a jury in the County Court of the State of Victoria and on 13 March 2019 sentenced to 6 years in prison.
The cardinal, who has always declared himself innocent, then announced the appeal, which was rejected and the sentence confirmed.
And the prison doors have opened for the cardinal In the month of November, in the light of the numerous formal flaws in the procedural procedures reported by Judge Mark Weinberg, the Supreme Court of Australia admitted the appeal request presented by Pell.
On April 7, 2020, the cardinal was unanimously acquitted by the same court and released after more than a year of incarceration.
In a very recent interview, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged Pell's merits with regard to the reform of Vatican finances.
"I only gave indications - Bergoglio told Canale 5 last December 18 -. But organizing this which, thank God, is going well with the Council for the Economy, with the Secretariat for the Economy. All of this Cardinal Pell saw clearly, that he's the one who started this."
"Then he had to stay almost two years in Australia because of this slander they made on him - who was innocent, but they made him ugly, poor fellow - and he walked away from this administration, but it was Pell who made the scheme of how he could go on. He is a great man and we owe him many things", concluded the Pope.