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Vatican City, Aug 23, 2019 / 11:15 am (CNA).- This week’s decision by the Court of Appeal in Victoria marked the apparent conclusion of the criminal trial of Cardinal George Pell in Australia.
While the cardinal may yet exercise his final right of appeal to the country’s High Court, legal experts and those close to Pell are skeptical that such a petition would even be accepted, let alone return a verdict in his favor.
Progress - Pell - Prison - Future - Attention
With no further civil progress likely, and Pell almost sure to remain in prison for the foreseeable future, attention now shifts to Rome, where a canonical process has been pending.
Given the questions raised about his treatment by the Australian courts, how that process plays out will be of defining significance, not just for Pell, but for how credibly the Church can still claim to operate an independent legal system that dates back to the Roman Empire.
Pell - Process - Congregation - Doctrine - Faith
Pell will face a canonical process at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on charges of crimes of sexual abuse of minors – the same charges brought against him in Victoria. But what sort of process he will receive, and when, remain unanswered questions.
With concerns raised from experts and observers about the strength of the evidence against him, it seems highly unlikely Pell would face the kind of abbreviated administrative procedure like the one used to handle the case of Theodore McCarrick.
Shorter - Process - Canon - Law - Cases
The shorter administrative process is reserved in canon law for cases where the facts are reasonably clear, or the proof nearly self-explanatory. In many instances of cases of clerical sexual abuse, a civil conviction is taken by the canonical authorities as effective proof as they decree into evidence all the acts of the civil case.
Yet, because of the reporting ban in place for Pell’s two jury trials (which returned two...
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