Innocent! That final verdict came after George Cardinal Pell endured a grueling four years of accusations, investigations, trials, public humiliations, and more than a year of imprisonment after being convicted by an Australian court of a crime he did not commit.
Led off to jail in handcuffs, following his sentencing on March 13, 2019, the 78-year-old Australian prelate began what was meant to be six years in jail for “historical sexual assault offenses”. Cardinal Pell endured more than thirteen months in solitary confinement, before the Australian High Court voted 7-0 to overturn his original convictions. His victory over injustice was not just personal, but one for the entire Catholic Church.
Bearing no ill will toward his accusers, judges, prison workers, journalists, and those harboring and expressing hatred for him, the cardinal used his time in prison as a kind of “extended retreat”. He eloquently filled notebook pages with his spiritual insights, prison experiences, and personal reflections on current events both inside and outside the Church, as well as moving prayers.
In this third and final volume, Cardinal Pell’s conviction is overturned by Australia’s High Court, and he is released from prison. As the appeal draws near, he grows in confidence that his case is strong and that his vindication is important not only for his own sake and the Church’s sake, but also for the sake of Australia’s legal system. While continuing his daily readings and devotions, and receiving hundreds of letters with offers of prayers and sacrifices on his behalf, the Cardinal ponders the meaning of suffering in the life of the Christian, and he determines to accept with equanimity whatever outcome lies ahead.