Press coverage of Cardinal George Pell’s appointment to oversee the Vatican finances has concentrated on his reputation as a bruiser. In Australia he is known as a doctrinal conservative but in recent years his record on child abuse has come under critical scrutiny. Australian journalist, David Marr, published a particularly damning indictment of his record in The Prince: Faith, Abuse and George Pell, which appeared as issue 51 of the Quarterly Record. Pell shared a presbytery in Ballarat with George Ridsdale, chaplain of a primary school where he and four Christian brothers were later exposed as abusing children. Pell has always denied all knowledge of what happened. Pell himself was accused of abuse when he ran a youth camp as a seminarian by a young man called Scott. Pell denied the claims. A retired judge was called in to investigate the claims. He came to an unsatisfactory verdict, saying that Scott ‘gave the impression he was speaking honestly from actual recollection’ but in the end came to the conclusion he was ‘not satisfied’ the complaint was established. Both sides claimed victory but the outcome was not a decisive vindication of Pell. Although he has an Oxford DPhil Pell is no theologian but Marr describes him as a born administrator, a skilled empire builder and someone who is adept at raising money. He should do well in his new job and he will probably be glad to leave Australia. For all his talents, he didn’t win over the Australian bishops, who never elected him as president of their conference. It is thought that with the Royal Commission into sex abuse taking place the bishops did not want Pell speaking on their behalf. Pell has denied all the claims.