There seems to be some ancient, irredeemable evil lurking deep in the heart of the Catholic church. In this typically elegant and searching essay, David Marr spends as much time exploring the uncovering and exposure of the horrors of clerical sexual abuse as he does profiling Cardinal George Pell, perhaps appropriately given how inextricably the life of Australia’s foremost Catholic is linked to the history of hidden abuse in this country. Where someone stands on this issue will depend very much on their personal religious beliefs, but on the evidence presented by Marr, it is hard to believe that George Pell has remained as unaware of the cover ups and relocation of paedophile priests such as Peter Searson as he claims to be. An archdenier as much as archbishop. A pulpit bully, big, bewildered bombastic George, who celebrates a lifetime of unwavering, unswerving loyalty to the faith with promotion to keeper of the Vatican purse strings, fitting reward for a man who has saved his church millions through his aggressive defence and rejection of sex abuse claims against it. It is only to be hoped that on his own day of judgement, when big George finally meets the big man he has been serving all his life, that the shock of seeing his own reflection staring back at him won’t be too much for the dark heart to take.