Vatican City, Aug 21, 2019 / 03:18 am
The Vatican said Wednesday it acknowledges the decision by the Court of Appeals in Victoria to uphold the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, while recalling Pell’s insistence of his innocence throughout the judicial process.
The conviction of Cardinal George Pell on five counts of abuse was upheld by the Court of Appeals in Victoria Aug. 21. After an appellate panel announced its decision at a court proceeding, the cardinal was returned to prison.
“While reiterating its respect for the Australian judicial system... the Holy See acknowledges the court’s decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell’s appeal,” Matteo Bruni, Holy See press office director, said Aug. 21.
Bruni stated that “as the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See 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.”
Pell’s legal team has said it will thoroughly examine the over 300-page judgment before deciding whether to petition the Australian High Court in Canberra. Such an effort is expected by legal experts to offer very slim chance of success, given the appeal court result.
Pell’s lawyers have said that he will not petition for a shorter sentence.
Bruni concluded his brief statement Aug. 21 by expressing the Holy See’s closeness to victims of sexual abuse and confirming its commitment to carry out appropriate ecclesiastical procedures against clergy who have committed abuse.
The Vatican announced in March the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would carry out a canonical process against Pell at the conclusion of the judicial process in Australia.