Withhold judgment on Cardinal Pell abuse claims

Withhold judgement, said Pope Francis to the press.

He was referring to reports that senior Vatican official Cardinal George Pell had inappropriate sexual contact with minors in the past.

He said allegations against the prelate are still being investigated by Australian authorities.

In a short press conference aboard the papal flight back from Poland Sunday, Francis said the allegations against Pell “are in the hands of the justice system and one must not judge before the justice system judges.”

“If I were to make a judgment in favor or against Cardinal Pell that would not be good because I would be making a judgment first,” she said.

His answer to “withhold judgement” was in response to a question about what actions he may consider taking against the church official.

“There is doubt and there is that clear principle of law: in doubt, pro reo,” said Francis.

He was referring to the Latin term for the concept that a defendant cannot be convicted if doubts about his guilt remain.

“We must wait for the justice system and not make a premature judgment, [or] a judgment in the media, because this does not help.

“Stay attentive to what the justice system decides,” he continued. “Once the justice system speaks, I will speak.”

Pell is an Australian prelate whom Francis has entrusted with overseeing his reforming of the Vatican’s financial system.

He was appointed head of the city-state’s new Secretariat for the Economy in 2014. Pell also serves on Francis’s nine-member advisory Council of Cardinals.


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