George Pell loomed large inside the gates of my high school, both physically and figuratively. He was our next door neighbour at St Mary’s Cathedral College for boys during his reign as Sydney’s archbishop, and as the good book commanded, we loved our neighbour.
Australia’s most powerful Catholic was warmly welcomed as a school assembly speaker and, as a guest educator, would teach me for numerous religion classes. Despite going on to rise through the ranks of the Vatican, he always left me a little uneasy -- maybe it was his arched gait; maybe it was his quest to win us over with old tales of his boozy rites of passage. Cutting an imposing, 190cm tall figure, this darkly robed man would preach in a cathedral-filling voice about the virtues of celibacy. Now, he's behind bars for raping two choirboys in the '90s.