Cardinal Pell’s papabile prospects were always tenuous. Though some considered him the leader of the true conservatives that opposed Pope Francis’ liberal leanings, he was, nonetheless, ironically to say the least, one of the pope’s trusted henchman! Pope Francis, no doubt, working on Abraham Lincoln’s and Pope John XXIII’s adage about: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.
Irrespective, Pell, increasingly outspoken in his old age (and he is 74), was always a dubious papabile. To be pope he would have needed the vote of two thirds of the cardinal electors and that would have been a stretch. He might have been able, on a good day, get just over 50%.
But this late night testimony to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has done him no favors. He has come across as an uncaring, opportunistic career politician — just the kind of priest Pope Francis rails about! Well it is unlikely the cardinal electors will want somebody now so tarnished by the sex abuse stain.
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