Top Pope adviser arrives in Australia to face sex charges

Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell arrived back in Australia on Monday ahead of a court appearance later this month over historical sex abuse charges.

Pell landed Sydney early in the morning after flying from the Vatican via Singapore, reported the Guardian.

The 76-year-old's return to Australia comes less than two weeks after Victoria Police announced they were charging Pell with "multiple" historical sex offences.

At a press conference in Rome late last month, Pell said he was looking forward to "finally" having his day in court to fight the "false" charges, which he said were the result of a two-year investigation fraught with problems like media leaks and "relentless character assassination".

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The commission has faulted Cardinal Pell's handling of abuse accusations against clergy members when he led the archdiocese of Melbourne, beginning in 1996, and later of Sydney.

Pell told an Australian government inquiry into institutional child abuse that the Church had made "enormous mistakes" and "catastrophic" choices by refusing to believe abused children, shuffling abusive priests from parish to parish and over-relying on counselling of priests to solve the problem.

Cardinal Pell, who strongly denies any wrongdoing, is due to face a Melbourne court on 26 July.

It said in a statement Pell "consulted his doctors and on their advice took several days to return home, breaking his journey in a number of places to avoid long-haul flights".

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Pell is on leave of absence to defend himself and that video marked the first time he had been seen in public outside Rome since police charged him.

"I am innocent of these charges". He said, "The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me".

"Survivors have been calling for a royal commission for years, simply because we couldn't get justice", said Mr. Collins, who has said he was abused by four different men in churches and schools in Ballarat, Cardinal Pell's hometown. In one hearing, he admitted that he "mucked up" in dealing with paedophile priests in Victoria state in the 1970s.

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