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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Cardinal George Pell

2007 (printed 2012)
David Roberts

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 41.5 cm x 30.2 cm, image: 34.7 cm x 26.5 cm)
Image not available (NC)

George Pell AC (b. 1941) was Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996, and Sydney from 2001. At high school in Ballarat Pell was a top Australian Rules footballer, but he felt called to the priesthood and began his preparations for it at Corpus Christi College in 1960. He was ordained in 1966 having completed his studies in Rome, and he later gained a PhD from Oxford. Through the 1970s and early 1980s Pell served in various dioceses in Victoria, and added a MA in education to his qualifications. Appointed auxiliary bishop of Melbourne in 1987, he became that city's seventh Catholic archbishop in 1996; in 2001 he became the eighth Archbishop of Sydney. He was created a cardinal in 2003 and was one of the electors of the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. Generally characterised as a conservative as a consequence of his views on matters such as the ordination of women, homosexuality, the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, the celibacy of clergymen, embryonic stem cell research, divorce and climate change, Pell has written for religious and secular publications here and overseas, and has published a number of books on aspects of church history.

Pell moved to Rome in 2014 after being appointed head of the Vatican's secretariat for the economy. In 2017, however, he was required to return to Australia to face trial for the alleged sexual abuse of two choirboys, with the offences said to have taken place during the 1990s. Pell strenuously denied the charges, but was convicted in December 2018 and subsequently sentenced to six years' jail. In April 2020, having served over a year of the sentence in Victoria’s Barwon Prison, he was released after a successful appeal to the High Court. A full bench of seven judges ruled unanimously in his favour, finding that the evidence presented at trial had not been properly considered by the jury.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

Artist and subject

David Roberts (age 53 in 2007)

George Pell AC (age 66 in 2007)

Subject professions

Religion

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency