The Vatican said Wednesday that its doctrinal department will open its own investigation into accusations against Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors in his native Australia.
Pell, a former top Vatican official, will spend his first night behind bars after he was remanded in custody pending sentencing for sexually abusing two choir boys in Australia two decades ago.
He has proclaimed his innocence and will appeal the verdict.
"After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm," Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said. He did not elaborate.
Gisotti also confirmed that Pell, 77, was no longer head of the Secretariat for the Economy.
Pell's five-year term as head of the department, effectively the Vatican's economy ministry, expired several days ago and the pope has not yet named a successor.
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