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Live updates: Senior Australian Catholic church figures say George ...

Live updates Senior Australian Catholic church figures say George
Senior Australian Catholics respond to the death of George Pell in Rome early this morning, with Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher calling the news “a great shock”. Follow live.

Reporting by Zilla Gordon

Australian journalist, Christian author and friend of George Pell Greg Sheridan, has told ABC Radio Melbourne that he's shocked by the news of his death.

However, he was aware Pell had been suffering from ongoing medical issues, including a severe heart condition.

Mr Sheridan said Pell planned to head to the US for a major speaking engagement, but doctors had advised him to stop travelling.

“He’s kind of a worldwide super star outside of Australia in Christian and Catholic circles … but he couldn’t go to that conference because he contracted pneumonia while travelling,” he said.

"I’m shocked because he was always vigorous and he always had good humour.”

Speaking of Pell’s legacy, Mr Sheridan said he would remember Pell as a “tough old-style Aussie bloke”.

Mr Sheridan said he was regularly in touch with the Cardinal until his death.

“I’d email him in Rome and whenever he was in Australia we managed to catch up for a meal,” he said.

“I knew him so well and for so long I can’t even remember where I first met him.

“I love him, he was a very good man, so it’s a sad day.

“He had a great life, not withstanding a year unjustly in prison.”

When asked about his failures to hold clergy to account for their crimes or to stop their offending, Mr Sheridan said these were “complex matters”.

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