The New York Times
September 29, 2020
By Elisabetta Povoledo
The prelate’s return would come five months after Australia’s highest court overturned his conviction for molesting two children. For now, his plans have not been made public.
Three years after leaving for Australia to face sexual abuse accusations, and five months after that country’s highest court overturned his conviction on those charges, Cardinal George Pell was expected to return to the Vatican on Wednesday.
“We understand that he is due to arrive in Rome tomorrow,” said Chiara Porro, the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, adding that she had had no contact with the prelate or his office, so could not comment on the reasons for the trip.
On its home page, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney linked to an article in The Catholic Weekly, the diocesan newspaper, which reported that Cardinal Pell was returning “at the Vatican’s invitation” and that it was “believed that the invitation emanates from Pope Francis.”
A Vatican spokesman said on Tuesday that Cardinal Pell was not scheduled to meet with the pope.
The Australian cardinal’s return follows the unexpected ouster last week of his longtime Vatican rival, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, as the head of the department that creates saints. Cardinal Becciu said at a news conference on Friday that he had been fired by the pope over embezzlement allegations, but maintained that he was innocent.
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