Vatican to take no action on George Pell until appeal is over


The Vatican has said it will wait for the conclusion of the appeal process before taking action against Cardinal George Pell, who has been found guilty of child sexual abuse by a jury in Melbourne. The outcome of the trial was “painful news that has shocked many”, Alessandro Gisotti, the Vatican press spokesman, told reporters in VaticanCity.

“We reiterate the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities,” he said. “In this respect, we now await the outcome of the appeal process, recalling that Cardinal Pell has reiterated his innocence and has the right to defend himself to the last degree.” Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic, was on leave from his role in Rome as Vatican treasurer throughout the trial, but his term in the role expired on Sunday. He was found guilty of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 as well as four charges of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16. The offences occurred in December 1996 and early 1997 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, months after Pell was inaugurated as archbishop of Melbourne.

He is due to be sentenced next week but may be taken into custody at a plea hearing on Wednesday, having been out on bail since the verdict and recovering from knee surgery. “While waiting for the final judgment, we join the Australian bishops in praying for all victims of abuse, reaffirming our commitment to do everything possible so that the church is a safe house for everyone, especially for children and the most vulnerable,” Gisotti said.(theguardian)…[+]