"Cardinal Pell strenuously denies the allegations made against him.
The Ballarat-born 75-year-old is potentially the pope in waiting. All it takes is for Pope Francis to die suddenly, and one of the 120-odd Cardinals will be the next pope. It could be Cardinal Pell.
Cardinal Pell is the head of the Vatican secretariat for the economy. Effectively he is the third in charge of the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church. The Cardinal has diplomatic immunity as a Vatican official, and Australia has no extradition treaty.
In the modern era, laying serious or criminal charges against a Cardinal-Archbishop has not been done in free and democratic nations where immunity could apply.
It has been done under communist regimes, but not the free world. There is also the matter of Archbishop Wilson of Adelaide who was charged under Section 316 of the NSW Crimes Act. But Archbishop Wilson is not a Cardinal.
There are two shocking prior cases involving Americans really worth recalling. They concern Cardinal Archbishop Bernard Law of Boston, and Vatican banker Archbishop Paul Marcinkus.
Cardinal Law was the Archbishop of Boston. Clergy sexual assault of children was rife in Boston under his watch. And so was the official cover-up.
If you've seen the movie Spotlight, you have some sense of the depraved situation, and the enormity of the damage done to children and families.
VATICAN GAVE DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY TO CARDINAL LAW
Cardinal Law was named a defendant in a number of serious and public cases involving paedophile priests..."