Australian Cardinal George Pell has been removed from his role as one of the Vatican’s key advisors as Pope Francis moves to distance himself from the controversial figure.
Pell last year took an indefinite leave of absence from his job as the Vatican’s economy minister to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offences.
Francisco Javier Errázuriz of Chile – also the subject of allegations related to sexual abuse,- has also been removed from C-9, a prominent advisory group, Reuters reports.
Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the world to be facing trial over historical sexual offence allegations. In June, Pell was charged with historical sexual assault offences by Australian police in the state of Victoria. Pell denies all the allegations.
Pope Francis and Cardinal Pell, described by some as number three in the church’s hierarchy have divergent views on climate channge. Whilse Pope Francis has been widely praised for his “encyclical”, in which he described climate change as “one of the principal challenges facing humanity, Cardinal Pell has conaistently promoted climate science denial.
In Laudato Si’ – On Care For Our Common Home, the Pope set out the strong moral case for action. He wrote: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”
In stark contrast, Pell has dismissed the science linking greenhouse gas emissions with dangerous climate change.
In 2011 Pell gave the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) annual lecture. The talk focused on “the morality and costs of imposing heavy financial burdens on households and families, in particular the poor, in the name of saving the planet and in the hope of curbing the rise of global temperatures.”
Pell also dined with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief, Scott Pruitt, in 2017 to discuss setting up a “two-sided debate” about climate change.