Pope to let justice take its course on allegations
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE
Pope Francis told reporters Sunday he won’t address child-molestation allegations against a top Vatican cardinal who is one of his most-trusted aides until justice officials in Australia have made a determination.
Francis said as far as he’s concerned, accusations against Cardinal George Pell, Francis’ top financial adviser, “are in the hands of justice.” He said that the accused deserved the benefit of the doubt, adding that “once justice has its say, I will speak.”
“You can’t judge before they decide. We must wait for justice and not make judgments ahead of time,” the pope said. He was responding to a question posed by an AP reporter aboard the papal plane on a late - evening flight to Rome after a pilgrimage in Poland about what would be the right thing to do in the Pell case.
Pell has long been dogged by allegations of mishandling cases of abusive clergy when he was archbishop of Melbourne and later Sydney.
More recently, the prelate has been accused of child abuse himself when he was a young priest.
The pope was flying back to Rome on Sunday from Krakow, where an estimated 1.5 million youths attended his World Youth Day Mass.