Vatican to open own probe into accusations against Pell

Pell’s five-year term in the post expired several days ago and the pope has not yet named a successor.
Photo of  Cardinal George Pell

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican is opening its own investigation into accusations against Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors in his native Australia, a spokesman said on Wednesday. 

The move means that Pell, who maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the verdict, could be dismissed from the priesthood if the Vatican’s doctrinal department also finds him guilty. 

The 77-year-old Pell will spend his first night behind bars on Wednesday after he was remanded in custody pending sentencing for sexually abusing two choir boys in Australia two decades ago. Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted for child sex offences, will be sentenced on March 13. 

 “After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said. 

Gisotti also confirmed that Pell was no longer head of the secretariat for the economy, where he oversaw the Vatican’s finances. 

Pell’s five-year term in the post expired several days ago and the pope has not yet named a successor.
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