Explainer: What does Cardinal Pell’s conviction mean for the Catholic Church?

Source: Reuters

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Cardinal George Pell has become the highest ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be convicted on charges of sexual abuse.

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis signs a cricket bat of Canterbury cricket team received from Cardinal George Pell at the Vatican, October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters/File photo

The ruling has shaken the Church from remote corners of his native Australia to the frescoed halls of the Vatican, and could lead to a tug-of-war between Church justice and civil justice.

Pell, 77, was remanded in custody pending sentencing for sexually abusing two choir boys in Australia two decades ago.. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The imprisonment of someone Pope Francis had chosen as a top advisor in the Vatican — unthinkable to many just a few months ago — has put the pope in a difficult position.

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