Cardinal returns to prison after his appeal rejected in 2-1 vote
The Vatican noted today that Cardinal George Pell, 78, continues to maintain his innocence, even as an Australia court rejected his appeal of a verdict that he is guilty of sexual abuse of minors.
A statement from the Vatican today noted that the Holy See “acknowledges the court’s decision” while at the same time “recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.”
The Vatican statement also affirmed its closeness to victims of sexual abuse.
The bishops’ conference of Australia also noted its acceptance of the verdict, saying they “believe all Australians must be equal under the law and accept today’s judgement accordingly.”
Pell’s brother bishops also noted that his legal team has said it will examine the judgement in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court.
Speaking to the way the trial has divided the country, the statement noted how the drawn-out proceedings have been a source of suffering for victims and their loved ones, while also recognizing that the court’s decision to reject the cardinal’s appeal would be “distressing to many people.”
A fact sheet from the Vatican points out the key dates of the process, and reiterates:
As in other cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is awaiting the outcome of the ongoing proceedings and the conclusion of the appellate process prior to taking up the case. As was stated by the Holy See Press Office on 26 February, the Holy Father had already confirmed the precautionary measures imposed on Cardinal Pell upon his return to Australia, that is, as is the norm, the prohibition from exercising public ministry and from any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors.