Church launches canonical probe following abuse conviction of Cardinal Pell in Australia

The Vatican office that handles sex abuse of minors has taken over the case involving Cardinal George Pell following his conviction in Australia for molesting two choir boys, the Holy See’s spokesman has said.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the Australian cardinal, the highest Catholic cleric convicted of sex abuse, was being investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which has the power to remove him from the priesthood.

Cardinal George Pell (Andy Brownbill/AP)

The move was expected as the Church must conduct its own canonical investigation whenever there is a credible allegation of sex abuse.

Pell was jailed on Wednesday pending his sentencing in the decades-old molestation case.

Pope Francis removed Pell as a member of his informal Cabinet in October, and the Vatican confirmed he is no longer its economy minister.

- Press Association

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