Cardinal Pell via Vatican News

The local Church in Australia and the Holy See react to the decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, on the dismissal of Cardinal George Pell’s appeal.

Shortly after the 2-1 decision announced by the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, dismissing Cardinal George Pell’s appeal, both the local Church in Australia and the Holy See released statements containing their reaction to the decision.

Cardinal Pell’s reaction

A statement released by Cardinal Pell’s spokesperson said, “Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision”.

It then notes that his legal team will be examining the judgement to “determine a special-leave application to the High Court” of Australia. The statement ends declaring once again that in spite of “the 2-1 split decision, Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence”.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference reaction

The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, released a statement shortly after the decision was announced.

In it, he stated, “the Catholic Bishops of Australia believe all Australians must be equal under the law and accept today’s judgement accordingly”. While acknowledging that the “long process of the trials and appeal of Cardinal Pell” has been a difficult moment for those who have survived sexual abuse by the clergy, Archbishop Comensoli also acknowledged that Wednesday’s judgement “will be distressing to many people”.

Archbishop of Melbourne’s reaction

Melbourne’s Archbishop Peter Comensoli said in his statement that he “respectfully” received the decision and encouraged others to do so as well. He acknowledged the “complexity of the search for the truth” in Cardinal Pell’s case and said his “thoughts and prayers are with the man who brought this matter before the courts”.

The Archbishop expressed his readiness to “offer pastoral and spiritual help” to the plaintiff “should he seek it”, as well as the assurance that Cardinal Pell will be “provided pastoral and spiritual support while he serves the remainder of his sentence”.

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