Pell's prison diary to be published

Cardinal George Pell’s journal, written while he was in jail for 13 months on charges of child sex abuse, will soon be released by Catholic publisher Ignatius Press.

The journal is 1000 pages in total, and will be printed in three or four volumes. The first section to be released – in mid-2021 – will be either an abridged version or the first volume.

Ignatus Press is calling for donations to support publishing the journal and, even, help cover Pell’s legal costs.

“With your help, we can proceed with this project [to] offer Cardinal Pell appropriate advances on these volumes, which he can then use to remove much of the worry he now has about his legal debts,” wrote editor of Ignatius Press, Father Joseph Fessio.

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Fessio describes Pell as “staunch and courageous … a good man, and a good friend personally of mine and of Ignatius Press”.

He depicts the events that led to Pell’s conviction as a “campaign of vicious attacks on him which led to the travesty of justice that resulted in his imprisonment.”

Pell was first charged with multiple counts of historical child sexual assault offences in June 2017. Then Australia’s most senior Catholic, he denied the charges.

After several trials, Pell was convicted on five counts of sexual abuse in December 2018 and sentenced to six years in prison. An appeal by Pell in August 2019 was dismissed by the Victorian Court of Appeal.

However, in April, the High Court acquitted Pell of all charges and he was freed – ruling the evidence used to convict Pell “did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”.

Fessio goes so far as to describe Pell’s release as “not just a victory for one man. It was a victory for the Church.”

“Cardinal Pell is now out of jail and back in action. But he has the ongoing challenge of meeting the many legal expenses which were necessary to right the terrible injustice done to him. One way of doing this is to publish his story.”