FORMER Ballarat priest Cardinal George Pell will take up a new role with one of the most powerful positions in the Catholic Church.
He has been made head of a new secretariat aimed at modernising the church bureaucracy following a series of financial scandals.
Cardinal Pell said he was deeply honoured to have been appointed to the new role.
He was a student at St Patrick’s College from 1949 until 1959 and was also captain of the college.
Headmaster Peter Casey said the appointment showed Cardinal Pell must be held in high regard by Pope Francis.
“We are delighted for Cardinal Pell and it is a recognition of the man, his life, his talents and his dedication to the church,” Dr Casey said.
Dr Casey said Cardinal Pell would be looking at a variety of possible reforms for the Catholic Church.
“One of the things about him is that people who know him, know that he is Ballarat through and through,” he said.
“He just loves Ballarat.”
Dr Casey said a lot of Ballarat residents had an insight into Cardinal Pell which many other people from other parts of the country had not seen.
The new appointment is expected to be the first to help with major overhaul of what is considered to be an outdated and inefficient bureaucracy.
The Vatican said in a statement that Cardinal Pell “has been asked to start work as soon as possible”.
The Catholic Church in Australia is now expected to begin the process of finding a new Archbishop of Sydney to replace Cardinal Pell.
Cardinal Pell was contacted for comment.