Pope Francis on Tuesday (February 26) confirmed restrictions on Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty of sexual offences with minors in Australia, obliging him to refrain from public ministry and have no contact with children.
In the Vatican's first response to the conviction, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told reporters it was "painful" for many, but that the cardinal had proclaimed his innocence and has the right to "defend himself until the last level" of judicial process.
Gisotti added that Pope Francis confirmed the precautionary measures already laid out against Pell, who has been forbidden from the public exercise of the ministry and having any form of contact with minors.
For two decades, George Pell was the dominant figure in the Catholic Church in Australia but in December he was found guilty of five charges of child sex offences committed in a Melbourne cathedral.
The verdict had been subject to a court order that prevented reporting of the case until the judge lifted the restrictions on Tuesday.