FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads the Palm Sunday mass in St. Peter’s Basilica without public participation due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Vatican April 5, 2020. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis, speaking just a few hours after Australia’s highest court acquitted Cardinal George Pell of sexually assaulting two choirboys, on Tuesday offered his morning Mass for those who suffer from unjust sentences.
The court quashed convictions that Pell sexually assaulted the two teenagers in the 1990s and allowed the 78-year-old former Vatican economy minister to walk free from jail, ending the most high profile case of alleged historical sex abuse to rock the Roman Catholic Church.
Each morning at the Mass in his residence, Francis chooses an intention for the service, such as remembering the poor, the homeless or the sick.
“I would like to pray today for all those people who suffer unjust sentences resulting from intransigence (against them),” Francis said, speaking extemporaneously at the start of the Mass. Francis did not mention Pell by name.
Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by John Stonestreetediting by John Stonestreet