«I am aware he has been convicted of those charges; that an appeal against the conviction has been lodged and that he maintains his innocence in respect of these charges. None of these matters alter my opinion of the Cardinal.
«I have known Cardinal Pell for approximately 30 years. We first became acquainted when he was, I think, an Assistant Bishop in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Inevitably we became better known to each other after he became Archbishop of Melbourne and, later still, Archbishop of Sydney.
«Cardinal Pell is a person of both high intelligence and exemplary character. Strength and sincerity have always been features of his personality. I have always found him to be lacking hypocrisy and cant. In his chosen vocation he has frequently displayed much courage and held to his values and beliefs, irrespective of the prevailing wisdom of the time.
«Cardinal Pell is a lively conversationalist who maintains a deep and objective interest in contemporary social and political issues.