George Cardinal Pell (born 8 June 1941), Archbishop of Sydney, is ex officio head of the Catholic Church in Australia.
Born in Ballarat in Victoria, he attended St Patrick's College in Ballarat and Corpus Christi Seminary, at that time based in Werribee.
He received a licentiate in theology from Pontifical Urbaniana University in 1967, a doctorate of philosophy in church history from the
University of Oxford in 1971 and a master's degree in education from Monash University in 1982.
After graduation from Oxford, he worked as an assistant priest in several parishes in Victoria. He was Visiting Scholar at Campion Hall in 1979 and at St Edmund's College in 1983.
He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Ballarat by Cardinal Agagianian in St Peter's Basilica, Rome, on December 16th 1966. Cardinal Pell served as Director of the Aquinas Campus of the Institute of Catholic Education from 1974 to 1984 and as Principal of the Institute of Catholic Education (now merged into Australian Catholic University) from 1981 to 1984.
He was Episcopal Vicar for Education in the Diocese of Ballarat (1973-84), a founding member of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (1973-84), a member of the Academic Board of the State College of Victoria and at different times a member of the Councils of the State College of Victoria – Ballarat, the Ballarat College of Advanced Education, and Signadou College Canberra.
Cardinal Pell - Archbishop of Sydney
From 1988 to 1997 he was a member of the National Catholic Education Commission. He was a member of the Bishops' Committee for
Education from 1994 to 1997 (as Secretary) and again from 2000 to 2006 (as Chairman from 2003).
In 1989 Cardinal Pell was appointed Chairman of the committee charged with setting up the new Australian Catholic University,
and in 1991 to 1995 he served as the University's Foundation Pro-Chancellor. In 1999 to 2000 he assisted in the establishment of
the new city campus of the University in Melbourne. Cardinal Pell has been President of the University's board of owners since 1996.
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne and Titular Bishop of Scala on 30 March 1987, he was consecrated on 21 May 1987, promoted to Archbishop of Melbourne 16 July 1996 and translated to the archdiocese of Sydney 26 March 2001.
On 21 October 2003 Archbishop Pell was created Cardinal Priest of S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello.
Cardinal Pell has been a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1990 to 1995 and again since 2002. From 1990 to 2000 he was a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In April 2002, John Paul II named him President of the Vox Clara Committee to advise the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on English translations of liturgical texts. In December 2002 he was appointed to the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family, having previously served as a consultor to the council. He was appointed a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in January 2005.
He was Grand Prior of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Australian Lieutenancy - Southern, from 1998 to 2001, and was appointed Grand-Prior of the Order in New South Wales in 2001. Cardinal Pell was created Knight Grand Cross of the Order in 2003 to mark his elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Pell's long-standing commitment to ecumenism was recognized in 1998 with the conferral of the Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Saint Lazarus, and his promotion to Ecclesiastic Grand Cross of St Lazarus, the Order's highest ecclesiastical rank, in 2003. From 2001 to 2007 he served as the Order's National Chaplain.
In 2007 Cardinal Pell was appointed Conventual Chaplain ad honorem of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. In 2008 he was invested to the rank of Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion in the Order of Malta.
Supportive of young people, marriage and families, the Cardinal’s interest in these areas of Church life has been demonstrated not only in his preaching and many public statements on these matters, but also in his involvement in founding the Australian campus of the international John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family; and in the creation of the Mary of the Cross Centre in Melbourne to assist families with a member affected by drug or alcohol abuse. As Archbishop of Melbourne he commissioned the production of To Know, Worship and Love, a series of texts for use in religious education in Catholic schools. The series continues to be used in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and was officially launched and mandated for use in the schools of the Archdiocese of Sydney at the end of 2003.
The Cardinal has written widely on religious and secular subjects, contributes to the secular press, academic journals and newspapers in Australia and overseas and regularly speaks on television and radio. In September 1996 Oxford University Press published his Issues of Faith and Morals. His other publications include The Sisters of St Joseph in Swan Hill 1922-72 (1972), Catholicism in Australia (1988), Rerum Novarum - One Hundred Years Later (1992), Catholicism and the Architecture of Freedom (1999) and Be Not Afraid, a collection of homilies and reflections published in 2004.