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Cardinal Pell Is Expected at Vatican, 3 Years After Leaving Under a Shadow

EntertainmentCardinal Pell Is Expected at Vatican, 3 Years After Leaving Under a Shadow

ROME — Three years after leaving for Australia to face sexual abuse accusations, and five months after that country’s highest court overturned his conviction on those charges, Cardinal George Pell was expected to return to the Vatican on Wednesday.

“We understand that he is due to arrive in Rome tomorrow,” said Chiara Porro, the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, adding that she had had no contact with the prelate or his office, so could not comment on the reasons for the trip.

On its home page, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney linked to an article in The Catholic Weekly, the diocesan newspaper, which reported that Cardinal Pell was returning “at the Vatican’s invitation” and that it was “believed that the invitation emanates from Pope Francis.”

A Vatican spokesman said on Tuesday that Cardinal Pell was not scheduled to meet with the pope.

The Australian cardinal’s return follows the unexpected ouster last week of his longtime Vatican rival, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, as the head of the department that creates saints. Cardinal Becciu said at a news conference on Friday that he had been fired by the pope over embezzlement allegations, but maintained that he was innocent.

At the news conference on Friday, Cardinal Becciu said that Pope Francis had been misled by Vatican prosecutors who accused him of nepotism and committing “acts of embezzlement.”

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