The Vatican has released a statement after yesterday’s decision, handed down by Anne Ferguson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, to dismiss his appeal against a jury’s verdict that George Pell is a pedophile.
After the decision on George Pell’s appeal was delivered Wednesday morning in Australia, the Holy See Press Office published the following statement:
‘While reiterating its respect for the Australian judicial system, as stated on 26 February after the first instance verdict was announced, the Holy See (the jurisdiction of the Pope) acknowledges the court’s decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell’s appeal.
‘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.
‘At this time, together with the Church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members of the clergy who commit such abuse.’
The High Court is the final option for the 78-year-old to appeal his conviction for the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996. He remains in gaol after Victoria’s highest court upheld five child sex abuse convictions in a 2-1 majority ruling.
Details of the appeal are yet to be announced.