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Cardinal George Pell, prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the EconomyMichael Dodge / Getty Images

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AUSTRALIA, April 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal George Pell has said that senior people in Rome believe his conviction and imprisonment in Australia was related to the trouble he was causing to “corrupt officials in the Vatican” as he led the financial reforms.

In an interview released today with Australia’s Sky News, host Andrew Bolt asks Pell whether he had ever considered that the trouble he was causing to corrupt officials in the Vatican was related to the troubles he has since experienced in Australia. Pell responded: “Most of the senior people in Rome who are in any way sympathetic to financial reform believe that they are.”

Pell said that from his own perspective he had heard too much from people “going from possibility, to probability, to fact” and that he didn’t have any evidence of a link between his work at the Vatican and his charges and subsequent conviction in Australia.

However, Pell did say that he was pleased that much of the financial corruption at the Vatican is being exposed and that it has been shown that he had opposed such corruption while in Rome.

“One of my fears was that what we had done would remain hidden for ten years or so, that it would be revealed and then the baddies would say ‘well Pell and Casey were in charge then they turned a blind eye or did nothing to it’,” the acquitted cardinal said.

“Now thanks be to God that’s all gone, because there was a flurry of articles just before Christmas and around Christmas exposing all sorts of things, like a disastrous purchase, actually a couple of them in London, and it was very clearly demonstrated that we tenaciously opposed those things.”

Bolt  questioned Pell about his relationship with Pope Francis, given their differing theological views and positions on issues such as “climate change,” but Pell said that he had received Pope Francis’ support.

BOLT: You and the Pope are not close. He is very much on the left and is a global warming preacher. You are a conservative and a climate skeptic. He has been a weak leader, but you have demanded reforms of your church, particularly financial reforms. In this matter though, this matter has the Pope supported you as you would have wished?

PELL: Absolutely. My theological views don't line up exactly with that of Pope Francis, but I worked in his group ‘The C9’ of his closest advisors. He is the successor of Peter. He's owed respect and I think he values my honesty and perhaps that I would say things that some other people mightn’t and say and I think he respects me for that. He certainly says that he respects the Australian judicial program processes but he has been very supportive right through.

Asked by Bolt how high he thinks that corruption in the Vatican goes, Pell said that he does not believe that it goes as high as the Pope.

BOLT: How high up in the Vatican does the corruption go?

PELL: Who knows? It's a little bit like Victoria, you're not quite sure where the vein runs, how thick and broad it is and how high it goes.

BOLT: I've described it as running right to the feet of the Pope, not to the Pope personally but right up to the very feet of the Pope. Would I be wrong?

PELL: Yes. I…We’ve got Cardinal Parolin the Secretary of State – he is certainly not corrupt. Just how high up it goes is an interesting hypothesis.

In November last year Cardinal Parolin informed Catholic media that he was responsible for arranging both a 50 million Euro loan to help the Vatican purchase a scandal-ridden Italian hospital and for requesting a subsequent $25 million grant from a US-based Catholic foundation in order to cover that loan. Parolin made no reference, however, to evidence that the request for the $25 million grant was originally linked to a request coming from Pope Francis.

Asked by Bolt about some of his fellow Australian archbishops who “have gone missing in action” by not giving clear support to him, Pell simply responded, “That's life. But actually what was surprising was even my theological opponents in Rome didn't believe the stories.”