George Pell Vatican church
Cardinal George Pell

George Pell says he was framed. Taking umbrage with his brave attempts to drain the Vatican swamp of corruption, powerful forces inside the church conspired to “destroy” him, the cardinal has told Italian television.

The ever-divisive Pell, acquitted of historic child sex abuse by Australia's highest court, must still mount a defence in the court of public opinion. And that’s what he’s done since the High Court quashed his conviction in April: fight a quiet PR campaign to recast himself as a victim.

The big conspiracy

Last week Pell appeared on Italian broadcaster RAI’s Sette Storie program to outline a conspiracy theory that's all a bit “Dan Brown meets The Godfather”. There was, says the cardinal, “some evidence” but -- conveniently -- “no proof” that shadowy figures in the Holy See wanted him out of the picture.