May 31, 2023

East Valley Times

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The influential Cardinal George Bell, the first Vatican finance “czar” appointed by Francis, has died.

Roma.- Australian Cardinal George Bell died on Tuesday in Rome at the age of 81, A conservative clergyman When was he famous? Pope Francis named him the first “czar” of the Vatican’s financesWho tried to clean up the Roman Curia and who He had to leave the post to defend himself against accusations of abusing altar boys. The charge was a scandal in his country in the 1990s and after more than 400 days in prison, he was acquitted.

According to the InfoVaticana site, the Cardinal, The leader of a conservative faction opposed to Francis, Died after complications from hip replacement surgery.

published National Catholic RegisterHis surgery to replace his hip prosthesis was successful, but he suffered a heart attack, according to his private secretary, Father Joseph Hamilton. Precisely because of heart problems, Bell has had a pacemaker since 2010.

The news of his death fell on Rome like a bucket of ice water. Bell was last seen Thursday Solemn funeral of Benedict XVIPope Emeritus.

Francis had a private audience at the Vatican with Australian Cardinal George BellAFP

The son of a heavyweight boxing champion, he stands nearly 7 feet tall. Bell had a physique and a character that earned him the nicknameFrankly put Francisco himself, in “Australian Ranger” Y “Rugby Player”.

Conservative line and direct styleCreated Cardinal by John Paul II in 2003. Born in Ballarat, South Australia, on June 8, 1941, he studied theology at the Urbaniana University in Rome, was ordained a priest in December 1966, and received a master’s degree in education. in Church History from the University of Melbourne and a PhD in Oxford.

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Before In 2001 John Paul II was appointed Archbishop of Sydney, Bell was Bishop of Melbourne’s South and later Archbishop of the same city. From 1988 to 1997 he was President of Caritas Australia and a member of various Vatican Councils.

In February 2014, he was appointed by Francisco as head of the Secretariat for the Economy.That is, as a leader “Super Ministry” of Economy Argentina was created by the Pope to reorganize and clean up the finances and, under his control, manage all of the economic affairs of the Holy See, including the controversial IOR (Institute for Religious Affairs, also known as the Vatican Bank).

The Pope speaks with Australian Cardinal George Bell in a private meeting at the Vatican
The Pope speaks with Australian Cardinal George Bell in a private meeting at the VaticanAFP

“The ambition is for the Vatican to become a model of financial management and no more corruption.”Bell, upon taking office, had not minced his words.

In July 2017, amid a scandal, Bell had to take a leave of absence from his important post as head of the Secretariat for Economics and a member of the return to their country Defend yourself against child sexual abuse. He later became the highest Vatican official involved in such activity.

After being convicted in 2018 and 2019 of first and second degreeIn April 2020, he was sentenced to six years in prison by the High Court of Australia by the Melbourne Court and the Court of Appeal, respectively. The conviction was quashed.

It was a victory for Bell He always maintained his innocence and wrote a book about his experience in prison. It became a bestseller.

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