Cardinal George Pell is expected to return to the Vatican Tuesday for the first time in three years after an Australian judge overturned his conviction on five counts of child sexual abuse in April.
Pell, the former Vatican treasurer, is returning in the middle of a scandal over finances, just days after Cardinal Angelo Becciu was fired from his post after being linked to financial misconduct, the Catholic News Agency reported Monday.
"The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments," Pell said in a statement to CNA after Becciu's ousting.
"I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria."
Before his leave of absence, Pell, 79, was the third highest-ranking Vatican official. Then he stood trial for the decades-old accusations, in which two choirboys claimed he assaulted them in the mid-1990s
The men, one of who died by suicide in 2014, claimed Pell molested them in December 1996, when they were both 13, after they snuck out of Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne to drink sacramental wine. One claimed Pell forced him to perform oral sex on him and then assaulted the other.
Pell was convicted in December 2018 and served 13 months in prison before the High Court overturned his conviction.
He has since accused Victoria police of a witch hunt, telling Sky News in April that his accuser was "used."
"I don't know what this poor fellow was up to," Pell said, but was not pressed for details by his interviewer, longtime friend and supporter Andrew Bolt.
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