Pell portrayed as Ratzinger numbers man

The Strewth column in The Australian today reports that the cover story in the current issue of the influential US publication The Atlantic Monthly, Sydney's Cardinal George Pell took to the task of getting the numbers for the election of Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope "with all the enthusiasm of a back-room political numbers cruncher".

Strewth columnist Andrew Fraser says Cardinal Pell is "described by writer Paul Elie as being so over-the-top in his lobbying for Ratzinger that Elie thought he wanted a job for himself; in particular, to be appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the ecclesiastical equivalent of a political party's central committee".

But, Fraser says, Pell was "at pains to convince Elie that his enthusiasm was genuine, but nonetheless Elie paints Pell as a sort of religious Crocodile Dundee".

Fraser quotes Elie's assessment: "Pell is a large, blunt, colourful Australian who wears a bush hat with his clerical garb to ward off the sunshine, and he plays the role of ecclesiastical outsider to the hilt."

Strewth: In Ratzinger's ranks (The Australian 19/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Year of two Popes (The Atlantic Jan-Feb 06 - requires subscription)

Piece of the Month (Whispers in the Loggia 11/1/06)
The Atlantic and How Benedict was elected (Catholic Outsider)

19 Jan 2006