Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

George Cardinal Pell: Creation of the Seventh Cardinal of the Australian Church

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

George Cardinal Pell: Creation of the Seventh Cardinal of the Australian Church

Article excerpt

This article is intended to record the creation of Australia's most recent Cardinal and to place him in the context of the earlier Cardinals of the Australian Church. It is not intended to be a detailed history of the cardinalate or the Church in Australia or a biography of Cardinal Pell or any of his Australian forerunner in the College of Cardinals. (1)

On 21 October 2003 His Holiness Pope John Paul II named and proclaimed 'Our Venerable Brother George Pell Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Sydney', formerly seventh Archbishop of Melbourne and previously titular Bishop of Scala and auxiliary of Melbourne, to be 'among the scarlet-clad Fathers of the Sacred College ... as Cardinal Priest'. (2) He became the seventh Cardinal of the Australian Church. Australia now has three Cardinals and, for a period of less than two months, had three Cardinal electors.

George Pell was born on 8 June 194l at Ballarat in Victoria, the son of George Arthur Pell and Margaret Lillian Burke. He received his primary education at the Loreto Convent in Ballarat and his secondary education at St Patrick's Christian Brothers College in Ballarat. He entered Corpus Christi Seminary at Werribee outside Melbourne in 1960 and continued his studies at the Pontifical Urban University for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome over four formative years, a period which coincided with the Second Vatican Council. He was ordained in St Peter's Basilica on 16 December 1966 and completed his Licentiate in Theology Magna Cum Laude in 1967. In 1967 he moved to Campion Hall within the University of Oxford, where he took a Doctorate of Philosophy in 1971. The subject of his thesis was 'The Exercise of Authority in Early Christianity from about 170 to about 270'. (3)

Later in 1971 he returned to his Diocese of Ballarat as curate of Swan Hill on the Murray River. On 5 November 1973 he became Director of Aquinas College, Ballarat, which is now the Aquinas Campus of the Australian Catholic University and of which he was founding Pro-Chancellor. tic became Rector of Corpus Christi Seminary from 1985 until his appointment as auxiliary in 1987.

He was consecrated titular Bishop of Scala on 21 May 1987 in St Patrick's Cathedral Melbourne as an Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne. He was a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1990. Appointed Archbishop of Melbourne on 16 July 1996 in succession to Archbishop Sir Thomas Francis Little KBE, he received the Pallium for the Archdiocese from Pope John Paul II on 29 June 1997. He put this aside on his appointment as Archbishop of Sydney on 26 March 2001. The Pallium for the Archdiocese of Sydney was imposed on him by the Pope on 29 June 2001 (4).

The Cardinalate

The Cardinals, who oversee the presbyterates of various titular and quasi parish churches of Rome, are the advisers and collaborators of the Pope. (5) From 1059 they have been the exclusive electors of the Pope and from 1150 have formed the College of Cardinals. In the 12th century prelates who were resident outside Rome began to be named Cardinals.

The number of Cardinals, in the 13th to the 15th centuries usually not over thirty, was fixed by Sixtus V to seventy. Paul VI established that when Cardinals reach the age of 80 they cease to be members of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and of all the Permanent Organisms of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State and they become ineligible to elect the Pope or to enter the Conclave. He fixed the number of electors at 120, which Pope John Paul II reconfirmed in 1996.

Cardinals are considered Princes of the Church, with the title of Eminence. Those resident in Rome, whether within the Vatican or not, enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship of the Vatican City State. (6)

Since 1983, the creation and function of cardinals of the Church has been provided for in the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Church, Part II, Section 1, Chapter 3. …

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