The Vatican has announced it will conduct its own investigation into accusations against Cardinal George Pell.
It comes after Pell’s guilty verdict was finally able to made public on Tuesday February 26, sparking up a global response.
Australia’s highest ranking Catholic has just spent his first night in jail, after being found guilty of raping a choirboy and molesting another back in the 1990s.
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The public conviction seems to be an embarrassing result for the Vatican and Pope Francis, coming just two days after a major meeting over how better to handle the abuse of children by clergy.
“After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.
Details of the investigation’s process or a time frame has not been provided.
If the Vatican’s doctrinal department also finds Cardinal Pell guilty, he will face dismissal from the priesthood.
Pell continues to maintain his innocence, despite a court hearing “this is a plain, vanilla, sexual penetration case” from his defence lawyer in his pre-sentence hearing yesterday.
An appeal has already been launched, though Pell withdrew his application for bail.
He’s expected to reappear in court for sentencing on March 13.