The Vatican has confirmed Cardinal George Pell is now under investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which could lead to his laicization, which is the removal from clerical state. The Vatican originally said in a statement they would “wait and see” how the convicted pedophile’s appellate trials played out. Pell was convicted on five counts of sex abuse, including sexual penetration of a minor, in December 2018. The Vatican also announced that the high-ranking cardinal is no longer prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy—one of the Vatican’s most senior roles. His five-year post expired on Feb. 24 and will not be renewed. Pell, who was handpicked by Pope Francis to manage the Vatican’s finances in 2014, had been on a leave of absence while he fought charges of historical sex crimes in his home country of Australia. Pell, the highest-ranking Vatican prelate to ever be convicted of sex crimes, was taken into custody in Australia on Wednesday morning while he awaits sentencing scheduled for March 13. He faces up to 50 years in prison for his crimes. His lawyer Robert Richter shocked the crowded courtroom on Wednesday morning when he called Pell’s crimes “plain-vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating.” Pell is appealing the verdict.
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