Flat White

Pell case moves to higher court in Rome

7 April 2020

10:49 AM

7 April 2020

10:49 AM

The fate of George, Cardinal Pell will now be decided in this building in Rome following the unanimous decision by the full bench of the High Court to quash his conviction on all charges of sexual abuse by Chief Justice Susan Kiefel at the High Court registry in Brisbane.

The Palace of the Holy Office houses the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith — Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei — which is headed by Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer SJ; although Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, is the ultimate authority in the 2000-year-old Roman Catholic Church.

The CDF founded in 1542 by Pope Paul III to defend the church from heresy.


In February last year, the Holy See announced the CDF would investigate if Pell had committed child sexual abuse offences “any sins against the Commandments” under Cannon (church) Law.

“After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm,” Holy See spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.

My inclination is that Pell – coronavirus regulations permitting — will be on British Airways Flight 6375 to Rome that leaves Melbourne at 9.35 pm on Monday 13 April to submit himself to this CDF administrative investigation.

The full bench comprises Chief Justice Kiefel, Justices Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nette, Gordon and Edelman.

Pell has stridently maintained his innocence, saying he did not abuse the children in St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 and 1997.

Terence Maher is a former editor of The Melbourne Times

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