That final verdict came after Cardinal George Pell endured a grueling five years of accusations, trials, conviction, humiliation, character assassination, and finally more than a year of imprisonment, having been convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. Led off to jail in handcuffs and with shackles binding his ankles following his trial on March 13, 2019, the 78-year old began what was to be a six-year imprisonment for historical sex abuse. After Cardinal Pell endured more than 13 months in prison, eight of those in solitary confinement, the High Court voted 7-0 to overturn his original conviction. His victory over an extreme travesty of justice was not just personal, but one for the entire Catholic Church.
Bearing no ill will toward his accuser, judges, prison workers, journalists, and those harbouring and expressing hate for him, the Cardinal used his time in prison as a kind of “extended retreat”. He eloquently filled pages with spiritual insights, his daily activities, personal thoughts, love for his fellow man, and beautiful, moving prayers, among other details. This is the first of three volumes of Cardinal Pell’s extraordinary testimony to strength, perseverance, love, and grace is.
“These prison diaries should never have been written. That they were written is a testament to the capacity of God’s grace to inspire insight, magnanimity, and goodness amidst wickedness, evil, and injustice. That they were written so beautifully bears witness to the Christian character that divine grace formed in their author, Cardinal George Pell.”— George Weigel, from the Introduction “Jesus himself, Peter and Paul, Ignatius Loyola, Edmund Campion, Thomas More, Walter Ciszek, . . . Men of towering faith, whose hope was tested in jail. Now we can add to the litany Cardinal George Pell, a confessor of the faith, unjustly jailed but never defeated.” —Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“A window into the soul of a man enduring the crucible of imprisonment, false accusation, loss of reputation. It’s astonishing what we see through that window: not bitterness and anger, but graciousness and forgiveness of his enemies. Read this luminous text to see what radical surrender to Christ looks like.” — Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles; Creator & Host, Catholicism film series