One of Australia’s most recognisable religious figures, Cardinal George Pell, is currently living in Vatican City, assisting with the Vatican’s finances. But what the Pope may not have expected was Cardinal Pell’s penchant for the finer things…
Since being hand-picked by Pope Francis to sort out the Vatican’s finances, it seems that Cardinal Pell has been contributing to some monetary issues – he’s been accused of spending more than 500,000 euros (about $715,000 AUD).
So what exactly has the former archbishop of Sydney been spending his money on during his employment as the Secretariat for the Economy?
According the figures published in Italian magazine L’Espresso, Cardinal Pell has allegedly spent €2508 ($3600) on religious robes at a tailor and about $6650 on kitchen-sink fittings. He has also insisted on flying business class, paying $21,000 a month for an Australian assistant, and has spent more than $5100 a month on upmarket accommodation while his superior, Pope Francis, lives in a humble dwelling.
The Vatican funds are supposed to be freed up for the poor and needy, so it is shocking to find out that a Catholic man would be so selfish. He even said, on accepting the job, that he would try to save the Vatican “millions, if not tens of millions” of dollars a year.
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So why then is it being revealed that he has spent nearly $87,000 on furniture?
These leaks about his spending are suspected to have been uncovered by others in the Vatican who are unhappy with Cardinal Pell.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi is the only person to have spoken about the leaked expenses of Cardinal Pell but said that “passing confidential documents to the press for polemical ends or to foster conflict is not new, but is always to be strongly condemned, and is illegal”.
It’s not yet clear what Pope Francis thinks of the negative attention his new employee is receiving, but a recent speech he gave may reveal his standings on unnecessary lavish spending. He said, “When money becomes an idol, it commands the choices of man. And thus it ruins man and condemns him. It makes him a slave”.
What do you think? Should George Pell be condemned for his actions or is he free to spend as he wishes?