By Jessica Easthope
Cardinal George Pell is back in Rome after being released from prison in April.
For 404 days Cardinal Pell sat, isolated in a prison cell, wrongly convicted of sexual abuse based on a single testimony against him.
“I was quite incredulous initially because I never believed that would happen, and not just my people, but many independent lawyers also told me. The case that was referred to the judges, I thought, was ridiculous. Totally implausible in a great cathedral,” Cardinal Pell said of the case.
During his time in prison, Cardinal Pell wrote of his suffering in a diary he has decided to make public. He also wrote to other prisoners about their shared experiences.
“I tried to write to all the prisoners, respond to all the prisoners, and hardly anybody else. One or two others I replied to,” he said.
Reflecting on the worst period of his life Cardinal Pell says what got him through was the support from his family and his church.
“Pope Francis supported me strongly through all these troubles. I had a very pleasant meeting with him, and I’m very grateful for his support and for the support of Pope Benedict,” Cardinal Pell said.
While in prison, Cardinal Pell’s reputation was shattered, his future was uncertain, but his faith never wavered.
“The Christian package works. Jesus’ teachings are true and bear fruit and give life, give you strength. The importance of forgiveness, of struggling to forgive, is good for peace of heart and peace of mind,” said Cardinal Pell
The first volume of Cardinal Pell’s diary, “Prison Journal” will be released on December 15.