Card. George Pell accused of abuse: "I'm innocent." Pope's trust and esteem
The Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy takes a leave of absence to "clear" his name of charges of paedophilia, which he categorically rejects. Card. Pell is the highest Vatican personality to undergo this kind of accusation. The Holy See expresses "respect" for the Australian justice system, but affirms all its esteem for the cardinal, who has worked very hard against paedophilia. Pope's appreciation for his commitment to economic reforms. Some people think that these accusations are a "vendetta" of mafiosi groups who are now unable to use the Vatican bank in money laundering operations.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "I am innocent of these charges, they are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me": These the words of Card. George Pell, Prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, rejecting allegations laid by the state police in Victoria (Australia), that he assaulted two boys in the locker room of a swimming pool. The facts they attribute to him date back to the 1970s.
In a press conference he held this morning in the Vatican Press Office, Card. Pell has pointed out that these "investigations" have been bounced around for at least two years and have been the subject of press campaigns with "media tip-offs", "hasty", "declarations" for "more than a month" on "imminent " decisions on the charges.
The cardinal also announced that the pope, always "constantly informed" about his situation, agreed to grant him "a temporary leave to clear my name."
"I have always been very consistent and clear - he said - about my total rejection of these allegations. The news about these accusations strengthens my resolve and the judicial process will give me the opportunity to clear my name and return to my job in Rome. "
Card. Pell is the highest Vatican personality to undergo an accusation of paedophilia. Earlier he was accused of having covered up the abuse committed by some Australian priests, accusations that he has always disputed.
Since 2014, when he was out in charge of the secretariat for the economy and started work on reforming the Vatican bank against money laundering, the accusations against him have multiplied until he was accused not only of having "protected "paedophile priests, but of having committed acts of paedophilia, which many Australians believe to be" improbable "and" impossible ": the two teenagers, now forty, who have become television stars, would have been alone with him in the changing room of a pool in Ballarat. Card. Pell has always talked about a "relentless character assassination" campaign against him.
Some analysts suggest that the campaign against Card. Pell is a "vendetta" of mafia groups that today find themselves unable to use the Vatican bank as a way to launder their money.
Immediately after the communication of Card. Pell, the Holy See Press Office director, Greg Burke, while expressing by the Holy See " expresses its respect for the Australian justice system that will have to decide the merits of the questions raised.” The note also expresses how the Holy Father “has appreciated Cardinal Pell’s honesty during his three years of work in the Roman Curia, is grateful for his collaboration, and in particular, for his energetic dedication to the reforms in the economic and administrative sector, as well as his active participation in the Council of Cardinals (C9)”.
“At the same time, it is important to recall that Card. Pell has openly and repeatedly condemned as immoral and intolerable the acts of abuse committed against minors; has cooperated in the past with Australian authorities (for example, in his depositions before the Royal Commission); has supported the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; and finally, as a diocesan bishop in Australia, has introduced systems and procedures both for the protection of minors and to provide assistance to victims of abuse. "
Greg Burke pointed out that the cardinal was not resigned from office, but that "The Holy Father, informed of this by Cardinal Pell himself, granted him a period of leave to defend himself. During the absence of the Prefect, the Secretariat for Economic Affairs will continue to carry out its institutional tasks. The Secretaries will remain in office for ordinary business matters, donec aliter providingatur. "