“Last year, the Holy Father granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations. The leave of absence is still in place.”
This is the essence of the declaration issued by Vatican Press Office, Greg Burke, today, May 1, 2018, in response to the court judgments in Melbourne, Australia, today regarding Australian Cardinal George Pell, 76, Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, who has insisted that he has returned to Australia to clear his name of false sexual abuse charges against him.
The text was published this morning in Rome, after the decision of the Melbourne court to have the Prelate appear before a tribunal.
While the court dismissed several charges but still will have him stand trial, the Cardinal rejects the accusations brought against him and pleads not guilty. The nature of the alleged cases was not identified.
This is Greg Burke’s declaration: “The Holy See has taken note of the decision issued by judicial authorities in Australia regarding His Eminence Cardinal George Pell. Last year, the Holy Father granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations. The leave of absence is still in place.”
Before leaving for Australia to defend himself, Cardinal Pell explained his decision in the Holy See Press Office with journalists. The Holy See Press Office issued a statement regarding the cardinal and the situation.
“The Holy Father,” it noted, “having been informed by Card. Pell, has granted the Cardinal a leave of absence so he can defend himself.’
“The Holy Father,” it added, “who has appreciated Cardinal Pell’s honesty during his three years of work in the Roman Curia, is grateful for his collaboration, and in particular, for his energetic dedication to the reforms in the economic and administrative sector, as well as his active participation in the Council of Cardinals (C9).”
“The Holy See expresses its respect for the Australian justice system that will have to decide the merits of the questions raised. At the same time, it is important to recall that Card. Pell has openly and repeatedly condemned as immoral and intolerable the acts of abuse committed against minors; has cooperated in the past with Australian authorities (for example, in his depositions before the Royal Commission); has supported the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; and finally, as a diocesan bishop in Australia, has introduced systems and procedures both for the protection of minors and to provide assistance to victims of abuse,” it concluded.