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Publisher's Summary

The book suppression has now lifted, and multi-award winning Cardinal is available for listeners for the first time, with new revelations and a foreword by Thomas Keneally.

Cardinal George Pell, Australia's most powerful Catholic, has been found guilty of five sexual crimes against children. He is the most senior Catholic figure in the world to be charged by police and convicted of child sex offences. The abuse involved choirboys at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral.   

George Pell was a Ballarat boy who studied at Oxford and rose through the Catholic Church ranks to become adviser to Pope Francis and Vatican treasurer. He has been expelled from the Pope's inner circle of trusted cardinals. As an outspoken defender of church orthodoxy, supported and championed by the powerful, Pell's ascendancy was remarkable and seemingly unstoppable. As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse brought to light horrific stories about sexual abuse of the most vulnerable, Pell portrayed himself as the first man in the Catholic Church to tackle the problem. But questions about what the Cardinal knew, and when, persisted.   

Louise Milligan pieces together decades of disturbing activities highlighting Pell's actions and cover-ups. The book is a testament to the most intimate stories of complainants. Many people entrusted their secrets to be told here for the first time. Multi-award-winning Cardinal reveals uncomfortable truths about a culture of sexual entitlement, abuse of trust and how ambition can silence evil.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2017 Louise Milligan (P)2019 Audible Studios

What listeners say about Cardinal

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  • Bec
  • 09-06-2019

The full story

Listening to this book was a harrowing experience, but I am glad of it. Stories of clergy abuse and about Ballarat have been part of the back drop of my life in Melbourne for years, but as an atheist living in secular circles it was never a focus. The allegations against Pell changed that and this book is a thorough and painstakingly researched account of Pell’s life. More importantly however, Cardinal is a reminder of how power corrupts; and a reminder of the responsibility of every citizen to protect children, challenge authority and to look after each other.

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A hopeful and important read

I was nervous that this book would be too devastating to read. What I found here was a strength and healing that I did not expect. It's so important to have an insight into the environment that created this damage and abuse. This is what I felt this book delivered so beautifully. I recognise many of the locations and people in this book. My mother was a young nun in Ballarat during a time when many of these offenses occurred. Reading peoples accounts, and the impact that the actions of others had on them, was painful, but I also felt the importance and necessity for them to be heard and their pain acknowledged. This is why I loved this book so much and can't stop recommending it. It's not just about Pell, it's about us and our communities and I felt empowered and moved after reading this.

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Insightful must listen to audiobook

Louise Milligan has done a wonderful job investigating and assembling this audiobook. Child abuse in the papers and on the gb is never easiest subject matter to study and this book goes the extra mile to understand the two then young boys, the Ballaratt community and the cover ups and abuse in the Australian Catholic Church. If you want to understand who George Pell is listen to this audio book if you want to believe in fantasies then listen to Andrew Bolt.

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I won't bother

Only one and a half chapters into the book and I am returning it. The sarcastic foreword aside, the bias is so evident from the start that I will not continue. Judging Pell's thoughts and character from a sporting photo and assessing a man's PTSD from looking into his ''ptsd' eyes'' is enough to make me realise I am not getting an objective narrative. I'll pass thanks.

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a powerful advocate for the truth...

a well researched piece that respectfully presents the dreadful stories of the abused. my heart goes out to the many, many victims.

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Empathic and insightful. A fine piece of writing

Milligan’s storytelling and investigative journalism is seconded only by her empathy and warmth in this must-read look at what is to be the most significant issue of our time. It is an impressive balancing act as she brings the anguish of victims and families to life while never starting from her rigorous, evidence-based reporting.

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Shame shame shameful

As I was from Inglewood and met and have encountered this horrible priest and have had friends whom were not included in this book, just shows you how many ppl survived this priests pool room and alter boys storyline. As for Pells lies for so many year may he rest in hell. And why is he not in the mainstream of the jail. This is so still looking after him. Put him amongst the prisoners and show him the life that many of his victims felt on a daily basic. There has to be another book to cover the victims and the parents of these victims. Maybe as a podcast interview read book. Thank you for writing this book.

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I'm now solidly anti-catholic

I've often said we have a legal system, not a justice system. This book confirms that. My biggest takeaway was 'mental reservation'. Pell can obviously say absolutely whatever he wants to the authorities, in Court and any other hearing (read lie) and make it ok by mentally telling God the truth. To all the victims; I hear you, I believe you.

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outstanding work

a great piece of journalism into the most vile organisation on the planet. A must read, albeit a tough one.

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George Pell

Every Australian should read this book. Thanks to Louise for your tireless investigative journalism. Thanks to all the survivors who have spoken out to help bring these disgraceful predators and enablers out into the light for all to see. So much sadness and so much damage done. I’m sad for the victims who have left us without any justice and the hurt and sorrow they must have felt from such a young age and throughout their traumatised lives. What sort of humans choose to protect an institution over the wellbeing and safety of children. That is the question. Let the truth be told.

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  • Kent
  • 23-05-2019

Let us never Forget

A very important piece of investigative writing, important that we remember the terrible sacrifice of the innocence of youth...

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  • Grace Marie-Thérèse
  • 03-03-2020

Why you should buy another clergy sex abuse book:

First, the author is a good narrator; if a British accent makes a speaker sound really intelligent, an Australian accent makes them sound both intelligent and someone you’d like to have a beer (or a cuppa) with. Or maybe that’s just Milligan’s personality; it’s easy to understand why so many people, the laity and clergy alike, were willing to talk to her. She is compassionate yet objective. Secondly, we have been calling for accountability on the part of Bishops, but as a practicing Catholic, I know of lay employees who managed very nicely under the old system thank you very much and they continue to resist change. This is a story about a Cardinal who was called to account, but it also explains how people at every level in the hierarchy worked to ignore and/or cover up criminal behavior. We need to understand how the whole system operates. Thirdly, as I’m writing this review on the audible US site, you probably live in the United States too. The clergy sex abuse here is so close—many historic cases of abuse occurred in my own parish—that when I read about abuses in the US, I either feel too much and am overcome by emotion or cope by tuning out. Somehow, listening to the saga of another country helped me be attentive without getting overwhelmed. Lastly, this book confirmed not only that this is a worldwide problem but that brave and plucky people—which seems to pretty much characterize all Australians—can change the system. There is something marvelous about the way Australians tackle evil that we Americans would do well to imitate.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.