We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

Cardinal Pell reveals how he coped during his time in prison

Cardinal George Pell spent more than 400 days in prison on a charge that was later unanimously overturned by the Australian Supreme Court. 

Now he is releasing the second volume of his “Prison Journal,” in which he reveals the support he received from the Catholic chaplain of his prison. 

Former Prefect, Secretariat for the Economy
“Sister Mary, the chaplain, brought me communion once a week. She was always a great consolation, good company, very supportive, understood jail life. Very, very kind, but quite a formidable woman. Well, let me just say that one fellow who I think was a murderer was a bit scared of her, which is a good thing.”

The cardinal experienced firsthand the need for prison chaplains, who are called to lead extraordinary lives of mercy. 

Former Prefect, Secretariat for the Economy
“I think it's also important for a chaplain to make the prisoners understand that they are not an instrument of the warders of the jail system. They are independent, cooperative, but there to try to help the prisoners. And it was perfectly clear that that was her role.”

Cardinal Pell recalls the over 4,000 letters of support he received from around the globe. He wasn't able to respond to all of them, but he replied to letters from other prisoners. He still exchanges letters with one of them who remains in prison. 

Former Prefect, Secretariat for the Economy
“He wrote regularly and I would reply. I'm not a very good letter writer. But he used to refer to me as ‘tardy George’ because I was always apologizing for the slowness in my reply. FLASH 6:51, I owe him a letter.”

While in prison he had no internet access. Instead, he watched religious programming on television, including evangelical preachers.

Former Prefect, Secretariat for the Economy
“What was particularly beautiful was the BBC 'Songs of Praise,' Sunday singing, Sunday services, generally in Anglican churches around Britain, and interspersed with examples of Christian service. Now, I found that particularly useful and beautiful, and a consolation on Sunday morning.”

A much needed consolation during a difficult period of challenge and isolation before the Australian Supreme Court quashed the convictions. 

Now, after publishing the second volume of his prison journal, he can look back on it and see that God was always with him. 

Watch the full interview with Rome Reports Premium at www.romereports.tv