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Cardinal Pell spotted arriving in Rome

Months after he was cleared of child abuse allegations and walked free from prison, Cardinal George Pell has flown back to the Vatican and officially arrived in Rome.Pell, who previously worked as Pope Francis’ finance Minister, arrived in Tome on Wednesday evening, after flying out from Sydney on Tuesday, in his first trip to the…

Months after he was cleared of child abuse allegations and walked free from prison, Cardinal George Pell has flown back to the Vatican and officially arrived in Rome.

Pell, who previously worked as Pope Francis’ finance Minister, arrived in Tome on Wednesday evening, after flying out from Sydney on Tuesday, in his first trip to the Vatican since 2017.

Nine News reported that Pell has arranged a private meeting with Pope Francis, which may take on Wednesday after he departs Rome’s international airport.

According to AP, Pell waved briefly to reporters before getting into a waiting car without making any comments.

On Tuesday ahead of his departure from Sydney, NSW Police officers transported him through a private entrance of the airport.

Katrina Lee, an aide and church spokeswomen, said Pell would fly from Sydney to Rome on a “private visit”.

“He always said he would be going back to Rome at some stage,” she said, while declining to comment on the purpose of his trip.

It is understood the 79-year-old will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test at the Vatican prior to the meeting.

Under current coronavirus travel restrictions, Australians are barred from leaving the country except for official business or compassionate personal reasons.

It was not immediately clear under what circumstances Pell would have been granted an exception to the ban, and it’s unclear how long he will stay in Italy.

The 79-year-old was forced to return to Australia from Rome in 2017 to clear himself of decades-old allegations of child sex abuse.

At the time, he was the third highest Holy See official, and had been attempting to fight the Vatican’s financial struggles.

Pell became the most senior Catholic to be convicted of child abuse crimes against two choir boys in the late 1990s when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

He served 13 months in prison before the High Court overturned his conviction in April this year.

Pell’s return to Rome comes just days after Pope Francis fired Cardinal Angelo Becciu amid an ongoing financial scandal.

with wires

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