Australian court convicts Vatican official on sex-abuse-related charges

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Washington Post:  Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty in Australia of charges related to sexual abuse, according to two people familiar with the case and other media reports, becoming the highest-ranking Vatican official to face such a conviction.

The conviction provides one of the clearest examples of how the sexual abuse scandal has eroded the church’s credibility while ensnaring figures in the upper echelons of power. Pell, who has categorically declared his innocence, had taken a leave of absence from the Vatican’s third-most-powerful position, as the economy minister, to fight the charges.

The Vatican on Wednesday did not address the explosive case, but it did announce that in October Pope Francis had removed Pell from his advisory group known as the Council of Cardinals, along with a Chilean cardinal, Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, who is accused of covering up for abusive priests. (A third cleric — Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya — was also removed from the council but has no known connections to abuse and recently retired from his position as the archbishop of Kinshasa.) more …

Opinion: Because of a court-issued gag order intended to preserve impartiality, the news media has been forbidden from publishing news in Australia on the details of the Melbourne trial, and now on the unanimous decision of the jury.

While suppression orders are almost unheard of in the United States they are fairly common in Australia. The decades old sex abuse scandals are now including Bishops and Cardinals from Pope Francis’ inner-circle.

Cardinal Pell was accused by two former choir boys of sexual abuse while he was archbishop of Melbourne in the ’90s. The boys sang in the choir at St. Patrick’s cathedral and were allegedly abused by Pell in a room in the confines of the church. Pell’s office told The Guardian in 2017 he “repeats his vehement and consistent denials of any and all such accusations.”

A second trial known as “the swimmers trial” is due to get underway early next year, according to sources familiar with the case. That trial is expected to hear evidence that Pell “sexually offended” two men when they were boys playing games in a swimming pool in Ballarat, Victoria. At the time of the allegations, which date back to the ’70s when Pell was a priest in the area, according to The Guardian.

December 3, 2018: Pope Francis met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican to discuss Middle East issues. During the meeting Abbas reportedly told the Pope that ‘we are counting on you’, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

I wonder what part of Genesis 12:3 this pope doesn’t get.