George Pell

Last night, ABC's 7.30 showed several men who accused Cardinal George Pell of sexual assault. The Sano Task Force of Victoria Police has been investigating multiple complaints of sexual abuse by Pell. They range from the 1970s to the 1990s, when Pell established the Catholic Church’s response to sexual abuse allegations. Pell describes the claims as “totally untrue and utterly wrong” and has asked for an investigation into whether a conspiracy exists against him between Victoria Police and the ABC.

What will Pope Francis do with him now? Will Pell come back to Australia? And what would that mean for the Vatican power structure?

It is difficult to make predictions about Pope Francis as he thinks and acts quite outside the Vatican square. On the one hand he is the sovereign of an independent state and has to protect the interests of his kingdom, his treasure and his citizens. On the other hand he is a determined reformer and has done much to change the cultural emphasis of his Church from legalism to pastoralism.