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Cardinal Pell: ‘I am not a synod rebel’

Cardinal George Pell pictured in March (AP)

Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Vatican secretariat for the economy, has stressed that he is “not a rebel or an opponent of the Pope”.

In an interview with Catholic News Agency, the Australian cardinal said Pope Francis is “a very good listener” and that they are in agreement over protecting Church doctrine.

“One of my concerns is for doctrine, and the Pope has said the doctrine will not be touched. I am not a rebel or an opponent of the Pope,” Cardinal Pell said.

Discussing the letter sent to Pope Francis at the start of the synod, signed by Cardinal Pell and other cardinals, expressing concerns about new synod procedures, he said that one of the reasons it gained so much attention was because “there was not much excitement in the first week, and the press wanted some excitement.”

He added: “A big part of the cardinal`s duty is to write letters to the Pope. I’ve written quite a few letters to the popes over the years. Why was it leaked? I do not know. None of the thirteen signatories leaked it, I’m quite sure.”

During the interview, he discussed what he called the “controversial issue of Communion for divorced and remarried”, saying, although there are many theologies, “doctrine is one”.

“You cannot say that in Germany they will believe in the Divinity of Christ and in Poland they will say Christ is not Divine. You cannot have two people in the same situation with the same dispositions; one goes to Communion and it (is) a sacrilege and in the country next-door it is a cause of grace,” the cardinal said.

“Cardinal Arinze said you cannot nationalise right and wrong. We have one creed, one baptismal formula, one faith. One God, one faith, one baptism. ‘Catholic’ means ‘universal’, not ‘continental’. We are not ruled by synods. We are led by individual bishops and led by the Holy Father and the Holy Father (Saturday) morning emphasised the central role of the Successor of Peter.

“He emphasised, too, that he is the authentic guarantee of the tradition. We only can live and work within the tradition, the essentials of the tradition.”