Pell and the Pope’s dilemma

The Tablet

August 29, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Although many people in the Vatican believe he is innocent, the high-profile Australian cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for abuse has been dismissed. He now faces a church investigation and trial. As our Rome correspondent explains, this is a nightmare for Pope Francis

The news arrived in Rome via a faltering video feed in the dead of night. From Victoria’s Court of Appeal, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson stated that Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions for the oral rape of a choirboy and the sexual assault of another chorister at St Patrick’s Cathedral when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s had been rejected.

\Witnesses inside the court on 21 August said the news was greeted with a deep silence. Small gasps could be heard across the room. The cardinal was motionless upon hearing the verdict; his lips pursed a little. He took a long drink of water, before being led away.

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