Established in 2013, the Royal Commission is dedicated to investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
Despite having testified before the commission twice before on the same charges, Pell was again summoned to return to Australia for deposition in December. However, the cardinal's doctor advised against the long flight, due to health issues.
As a result, Cardinal Pell volunteered to appear by way of video conference from Rome. His proposal for the video conference was accepted, and he gave his testimony again with abuse survivors present, who crowd-funded in order to attend the hearing in person.
Shortly before the hearing, abuse allegations surfaced accusing the cardinal of multiple counts of child sexual abuse dating as far back as 1961, which he fervently denied at the time.
In a statement released after the accusations arose, Pell said "the allegations are without foundation and utterly false."
At the close of the hearing, the cardinal admitted that he should have done more to protect the children of Australia during his time as a bishop.
"One of the things I regret as a Catholic priest is the damage that these crimes do to the faith of survivors, of the victims, and their friends and family, and generally throughout the society," he said, and voiced his willingness to work with authorities.
In a June 29 statement following the announcement of the Victoria police department's decision to charge him, Cardinal Pell's office said he has "again strenuously denied all allegations."
The statement said Pell would return to Australia as soon as possible "to clear his name" after consulting with his doctors, who will advise him on his travel arrangements, and that he looks forward to "vigorously" opposing the charges in court
Pell is set to give a statement to journalists in Rome at 8:30a.m. local time in the Holy See Press Office regarding the announcement of the charges.
This article was updated at 9:12p.m. MST with the official statement from Cardinal Pell's office.
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Elise Harris was senior Rome correspondent for CNA from 2012 to 2018.