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Cardinal George Pell’s jail diary to be published, tipped to become a ‘spiritual classic’

New book: In the diary, it’s understood Cardinal Pell reflects on his time in solitary confinement, politics, and the Church, including his reform efforts at the Vatican.

A CATHOLIC publisher is seeking donations from supporters of Cardinal George Pell so that it can release his prison diary, describing it as “a spiritual classic”.

Catholic publisher Ignatius Press hopes to release the diary in instalments, with the first volume likely to be published in 2021.

Ignatius’ editor Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio has sent a letter to email subscribers asking for donations, saying Ignatius wanted to give Cardinal Pell “appropriate advances” for the diary to help offset his legal debts.

“I’ve already read the first half of the journal and it is extraordinary,” Fr Fessio wrote.

“I think it’s going to be a spiritual classic.

“The entire journal is about 1000 pages, so we will print it in three or four volumes.

“With your help, we can proceed with this project and offer Cardinal Pell appropriate advances on these volumes, which he can then use to remove much of the worry he (Cardinal Pell) now has about his legal debts.”

In the diary, it’s understood Cardinal Pell reflects on his time in solitary confinement, politics, and the Church, including his reform efforts at the Vatican.

Cardinal Pell served 13 months in prison before the High Court in April acquitted him of sexual abuse charges involving two choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral during the 1990s.

Cardinal Pell, who rose to become the inaugural prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, always maintained his innocence.

“His victory was not just a victory for one man,” Fr Fessio wrote.

“It is a victory for the Church. And not just the Church in Australia.

“It revealed to all the world just how far the Church’s enemies will go and how deceitful they will be to discredit her.”

A royal commission into child sexual abuse examined whether Cardinal Pell had knowledge of abuse allegations of a Ballarat priest and a Melbourne bishop in the 1970s and 1980s.

A commission report released in 2017 with sections redacted, was finally made public in full in May this year.

It found Cardinal Pell knew a priest was moved because he had sexually abused children and he should have done more about an unstable priest in another Victorian parish.

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