05/01/2018, 13.26
VATICAN - AUSTRALIA
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Card. Pell to stand trial in Australia. The Holy See confirms his leave of absence

The cardinal has again declared himself "not guilty". Some charges judged "inconsistent" were dropped. Other accusations date back to the 1990s and 1970s.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Holy See has confirmed the period of leave granted to Card. George Pell to defend himself against the accusations of sexual abuse. The confirmation arrived today, after the Melbourne court ruled that the cardinal will be tried on charges of sexual abuse dating back decades ago. The Magistrate Belinda Wallington rejected some of the most serious allegations, which had been heard during the preliminary hearing four weeks ago, considering them "inconsistent", but decided that there are sufficient elements to justify a trial before a jury. One of the accusations dates back to the 1990s when Card. Pell was archbishop of Melbourne; another dates back to the 1970s, when he was a simple priest in Ballarat.

The cardinal, 76, one of the closest collaborators of Pope Francis, for the reform of the economy in the Vatican, has once again declared himself "not guilty" before the court.

Many analysts suggest that the campaign against Card. Pell is a "transverse revenge" of the mafia groups who today, thanks to the reform he led, find themselves unable to use the Vatican bank anymore as a way to launder their money.

The statement issued by the Holy See Press Office Director reads: "The Holy See has taken note of the decision issued by judicial authorities in Australia regarding His Eminence Cardinal George Pell. Last year, the Holy Father granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations. The leave of absence is still in place."

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