Thursday, 13 December 2018

Catholic Abuse News - Cardinal Pell "Convicted"

Cardinal Pell convicted of sexual abuse in Australia | Catholic News Agency

Despite a gagging order preventing any reporting of the trial, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) is reporting that Cardinal Pell has been convicted unanimously by an Australian court of the historical sexual abuse of two altar servers in the late 1990s when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.

This has not yet been confirmed by the Australian judiciary, which remains under the gagging order. The same source which reported this conviction the CNA is the same source which reported that a mistrial had been declared last October when the jury was deadlocked at 10-2 in Pell's favour.

The reason for the gagging order is that there is a second trial scheduled for early 2019 concerning allegations of other abuse of minors when he was a priest in Ballarat in the 1970s. The judge decided this trial might be influenced by the Melbourne trial making a fair trial impossible.

Cardinal Pell is the highest ranking Catholic cleric to stand trial on sex-abuse charges, being effectively number three in the Vatican, as prefect of the Holy See’s Secretariat for the Economy.

Pell had been brought in in 2014 to sort of the Vatican's finances and put an end to the rampant financial corruption. He has been in 'leave' from this position since 2017. This was after leaked paper showed that under Pope Benedict the Vatican Bank had been at the centre of a multi-trillion Euro criminal money-laundering operation for international criminal cartels, smuggling large amounts of money across national borders, often under diplomatic protection.

Pell quickly made enemies when he uncovered secret slush funds, each containing tens of millions of Euros, controlled by Vatican heads of departments that had been excluded from the Vatican's accounts. He also came under fire for using Vatican finances to furnish a luxury apartment for himself in Rome.

Leaking information about this to the Italian magazine L'Espresso was widely seen as a warning shot across Pell's bows. He has now been effectively hung out to dry. In October, Pope Francis removed Pell, along with Cardinal Javier Errazuriz and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, from the C-9 Council of Cardinals charged with helping the pope draft a new constitution for the Holy See’s governing structure.

If the reports of his conviction are confirmed, he is due to be sentenced in early 2019 but reporting restrictions will remain in force for several more months.

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