*:Not([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-top: 1rem;}]]>Image rightsGetty ImagesImage descriptionCardinal Pell had his child molestation conviction overturned by the Australian Supreme Court in April *: not ([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-top: 1rem;}]]>

Cardinal George Pell will return to Rome this week for the first time since he was acquitted of child sexual abuse and released from prison in Australia.

The former Vatican treasurer, 79, was due to fly out of Sydney on Tuesday, Australian media reported.

He was released in April after Australia’s Supreme Court overturned his conviction. He had spent over a year in prison.

The clergyman left the Vatican in 2017 to tackle the indictment in his home state, Victoria.

“He always planned to return to Rome,” his friend Katrina Lee from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney told Reuters.

She did not say if the clergyman would be seen at the Vatican, where he had previously made efforts to clean up the church’s finances.

  • The court overturns Cardinal Pell’s conviction of abuse

Cardinal Pell has held back in the months since his acquittal in Sydney – where he was once archbishop. Since his release he has been supported by the city’s archdiocese.

He has received an exemption for leaving Australia, which closed its borders to incoming and outgoing citizens in March due to the pandemic.

The news comes during a turbulent time for the Vatican. Last week, Pope Francis dismissed senior cleric Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu on charges of embezzlement.

“The Holy Father was elected to clean up the Vatican’s finances. He is playing a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on the latest developments,” Cardinal Pell said in a statement to the Catholic News Agency last week.

Media signatureThe Australian court releases Cardinal Pell

A jury convicted Pell on 1990s-related charges in 2018, but the High Court of Australia overturned that judgment. It turned out that a jury had not adequately considered all of the evidence presented at the trial.

In 2017, Australia’s landmark child sexual abuse investigation found that the cardinal had known about child sexual abuse by priests for decades but had taken no action.

The Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Abuse wrote over 100 pages of Pell’s actions and explained how he had failed to act on the actions of pedophile priests.

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