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Cardinal George Pell (CNS/Robert Duncan)

New South Wales Supreme Court documents have revealed the contents of a will signed by Cardinal George Pell in 2016. Source: The Australian. 

Cardinal George Pell bequeathed at least $255,000 in cash and shares to a small number of priests, family members, close friends and religious.

Msgr Charles Portelli, who gave key evidence in Cardinal Pell’s 2018 County Court trial, was left $5000 in the will which was authorised by the NSW Supreme Court on January 8. 

Cardinal Pell was charged by police in June 2017 and convicted by a County Court jury in December 2018 and jailed for six years. After serving 404 days in jail, he was freed after the High Court of Australia quashed his conviction and ordered his release.

Two other priests were also named as beneficiaries in the will. Fr Mark Withoos, Pell’s former private secretary, was left $10,000, and Fr John Walshe was left $5000. 

The probate documents released by the court reveal Cardinal Pell, who died in January 2023 after complications from hip surgery, twice altered his will after being freed from prison in April 2020. 

While the cardinal bequeathed $100,000 to his sister, Margaret Pell, she predeceased him. His brother, David Pell, was left $25,000, and $25,000 was left to each to his two nieces.

Family members and close friends were allowed to choose three books each from his personal library and one piece of art from his collection. The rest will be given to various education and religious institutions “having regard to the Catholicity and viability of these institutions”.

The Monks of the Order of Saint Benedict at the Monastery of Saint Benedict in Norcia, Italy, were left about $3000 to offer “some masses and prayers for the repose of my soul”. The Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma in Michigan “who cared for me in Rome” were left about $33,000.

His personal writings, papers and notes were left to the Sydney Archdiocese.


George Pell’s final gift to priests, family and friends (By Damon Johnston, The Australian