Cardinal George Pell, former Archbishop of Sydney and Australia’s most senior figure in the Catholic Church, was charged with child sex offences Thursday by the state of Victoria.
Pell currently resides in the Vatican, according to The Guardian, where he is the third-highest ranking church official.
Last year, citing ill health, Pell declined to return to Australia to give evidence to the royal commission on child sexual abuse in person last year and instead gave evidence by videolink from Rome. He voluntarily participated in an interview with Victorian police officers in Rome last October over the alleged sexual assaults.
In February this year the Australian Senate called on the cardinal to return home “to assist the Victorian police and office of public prosecutions with their investigation into these matters”.
Pell dismissed the parliamentary resolution as “an interference on the part of the Senate in the due process of the Victoria police investigation”.
Pell is a former archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne. Since 2014 Pell has been prefect of the secretariat for the economy, the Vatican’s treasurer.
A keen test of Pope Francis’s pretensions.
The sins of Babylon will be laid open.The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. As the people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? the ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears and quiet the awakened conscience. But since many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men and demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” the popular ministry, like the Pharisees of old, filled with anger as their authority is questioned, will denounce the message as of Satan and stir up the sin-loving multitudes to revile and persecute those who proclaim it. GC 606.2