In May, 2015 Cardinal George Pell said he was willing to travel to Ballarat to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Cardinal George Pell when he enjoyed better health
And then in December, 2015 shortly before he was due to appear: A statement from Cardinal Pell’s office said he suffered from a heart condition and had been advised by a cardiologist that it was not safe to undertake long-haul flights.
A lot of people were looking forward to catching up in Ballarat for a bit of a chat. They are sad to hear about your heart condition which seems to have taken a hasty turn since your last visit in May.
Given that long haul flights appear to be out, perhaps you could consider some other options.
Option 1: Walk
It’s a long way, probably a bit under 10,000k, (including a bit of sea travel from Malaysia and Indonesia) so you probably would have needed to have started by now. But it can be done.
It’s probably out of the question at this stage but a lot of people find the idea of a pilgrimage strangely appropriate in your case.
Option 2: Train/Boat
You can catch a train from Rome to any one of the French ports, by boat across the Atlantic to New York (seven nights), train from New York to Los Angeles (three days), boat from Los Angeles to Melbourne (allow a fortnight), short train trip to Ballarat.
You can be there by the the New Year and as the Commission is not sitting in Ballarat until February 2016, you will have a chance to catch up with old friends, the way you did on your last visit to Ballarat.
Option 3: Shorthaul Flights
Taking a day stopover at each destination you can travel: Rome to Ankara 4.5hrs), Ankara to Dubai (5hrs), Dubai to Mumbai (3hrs), Mumbai to Singapore (5.5hrs), the Singapore to Melbourne (7.5hrs) so total travel time is around five days.
Now, if you’re short of cash, I think you’d be surprised how many people would be prepared to chip in to help cover costs.
I hope this has been helpful, George.
Perhaps if you tried just a little bit harder, you could make it.