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Cardinal George Pell was born in Ballarat, on June 8th 1941, and was educated in that city at Loreto Convent and St Patrick's College. He studied for the priesthood at Corpus Christi College, Werribee, and Propaganda Fide College, Rome, and was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Ballarat by Cardinal Agagianian in St Peter's Basilica, Rome, on December 16th 1966.
On May 21st 1987 he was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Titular Bishop of Scala by Archbishop Sir Frank Little in St Patrick's Cathedral.
On July 16th 1996 Pope John Paul II announced Cardinal Pell's appointment as seventh Metropolitan Archbishop of Melbourne. He was installed as Archbishop on August 16th 1996 in a ceremony at the Exhibition Buildings, and received the Pallium from the Pope at St Peter's in Rome on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, June 29th 1997.
On March 26th 2001 the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Pell the eighth Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney. He was installed as Archbishop at St Mary's Cathedral on May 10th 2001, and the following month received the Pallium from the Pope for the second time at St Peter's in Rome on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul. His elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals was announced by the John Paul II on September 28th 2003, who created him Cardinal Priest of the Church of Saint Maria Domenica Mazzarello in Rome.
Cardinal Pell holds a Licentiate in Theology from Urban University, Rome (1967), a Masters Degree in Education from Monash University, Melbourne (1982), and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Church History from the University of Oxford (1971).
In February 2007 Cardinal Pell was appointed to the Council of Cardinals on Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See. In 2008 he was appointed to the Governing Committee of the International Catholic Migration Commission, which oversees relief work in support of migrants, refugees and displaced persons on behalf of the Holy See.
In December 2010 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Pell a member of both the newly-established Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation, and the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers. He was appointed to the Congregation for Bishops in September 2012.
He has written a number of books. In September 1996 Oxford University Press published Issues of Faith and Morals, written by Cardinal Pell for senior secondary classes and parish groups. Other publications include The Sisters of St Joseph in Swan Hill 1922-72 (1972), Catholicism in Australia (1988), Rerum Novarum: One Hundred Years Later (1992), Issues of Faith and Morals (OUP, 1996), Catholicism and the Architecture of Freedom (1999), Be Not Afraid (2004), God and Caesar: Selected Essays on Religion, Politics and Society (2007), Free for All: Negotiating Freedom in a World of Individuals (2009), Test Everything: Hold Fast to What is Good (2010), and One Christian Perspective on Climate Change (2011).
Cardinal Pell's most recent publication is Contemplating Christ with Luke, a book of homilies on St Luke's Gospel, published by Connor Court in November 2012.