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Rome Reports

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Cardinal George Pell turns 80, loses voting privileges in conclave

Cardinal George Pell turns 80 years old, making him ineligible to vote in the next conclave. 

The last few years have been some of the most trying for the Cardinal. He was convicted of sexual abusing minors and spent 13 months in prison before the Australian Supreme Court unanimously overturned the ruling. 

“I believe deeply it was unjustified. Because I was not guilty of the crimes. And secondly, because I'd done more than most people in Australia from the mid 90s to combat this. I realized that I was something of a scapegoat as a leading public figure in the church for 25 years.”

Here was his first meeting with Pope Francis since he was released from prison. 

-"Thank you".
-"Thank you, Holy Father".
-"Thank you for your testimony".

The Cardinal has participated in the last two papal conclaves. When Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, Cardinal Pell was 63 years old. 

“I don't think I'm so much nervous, but I'm on my toes. I recognize this is an enormously important historical moment for the Church and please God we'll get the decision right.”

After turning 80, the Cardinal won't be eligible to participate in a third conclave. 

124 cardinals remain eligible to participate in the next conclave. 

Javier Romero