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Biographical notes

[Updated: 14.04.2013]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


PELL Card. George

© Arturo Mari/L'Osservatore Romano



Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia), was born on 8 June 1941 in Ballarat, Australia. He was ordained on 16 December 1966 and holds a licentiate in theology from the Urbaniana University of Rome, a master’s degree in education from Monash University and a doctorate of philosophy in Church History from the University of Oxford. Cardinal Pell served as Director of the Aquinas Campus of the Institute of Catholic Education (1974-84) and Principal of the Institute of Catholic Education (1981-1984). He was Episcopal Vicar for Education in the Diocese of Ballarat and a founding member of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.
On 30 March 1987 he was elected titular Bishop of Scala and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and received episcopal ordination on 21 May 1987.
From 1988-1997 he was Chairman of Caritas Australia. During that same period, he was member of the National Catholic Commission and from 1994-1997 he was Secretary to the Bishops’ Committee for Education. In 1989, Cardinal Pell was appointed Chairman of the committee charged with setting up the new Australian Catholic University, and in 1991-1995 he served as pro-chancellor of the University’s Foundation. From 1985-1987 he was Rector of Corpus Christi College, the Provincial Seminary for Victoria and Tasmania. In 1990, he attended the Synod of Bishops in Rome on the preparation of priests, where he served as one of the Synod spokesmen and on the committee which prepared the final Synod message. He was appointed Apostolic Visitor to the National seminaries of New Zealand (1994), Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (1995), the Pacific (1996) and Irian Jaya and Sulawesi (1998) by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican.
On 16 July 1996, Pope John Paul II appointed him Metropolitan Archbishop of Melbourne. He was installed as Archbishop on 16 August 1996 in a ceremony at the Exhibition Buildings, and received the Pallium from the Pope at St. Peter’s in Rome on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, 29 June 1997.
In November 1998, Cardinal Pell attended the Synod for Oceania. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II to represent the Bishops of Australia and Oceania at the Special Synod for European Bishops in 1999 and the Synod of Bishops held in 2001.
In April 2002, he was named President of the Vox Clara committee for the English translations of liturgical texts.
On 26 March 2001, the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Pell the eighth Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney. He was installed as Archbishop at St. Mary’s Cathedral of 10 May 2001, and the following month received the Pallium for the second time at St. Peter’s in Rome on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul.

On 9 September 2008 he was appointed President Delegate of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” (5-26 October 2008). [substituting for Cardinal Oswald Gracias]

On 13 April 2013 he was made a member of the group of cardinals established to advise Pope Francis in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia,‘Pastor Bonus’.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the consistory of 21 October 2003, of the Title of S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello (St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; for Bishops;
  • Pontifical Councils: for Family; for Justice and Peace; for Promoting New Evangelization; for Health Pastoral Care;
  • Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Affairs of the Holy See;
  • XIII Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops;
  • Committee Vox Clara (President).

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