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