Herald Sun - - NEWS -

These mat­ters have been un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion now for two years.

There have been leaks to the media. There has been relentless char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion.

A relentless char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion.

And for more than a month, claims that a de­ci­sion on whether to lay charges was im­mi­nent.

I’m look­ing for­ward, fi­nally, to hav­ing my day in court. I’m in­no­cent of these charges. They are false.

The whole idea of sex­ual abuse is ab­hor­rent to me. I’ve kept Pope Fran­cis — the Holy Fa­ther — reg­u­larly in­formed dur­ing these long months.

I have spo­ken to him on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions in the last week, I think — most re­cently, a day or so ago. We talked about my need to take leave to clear my name.

So I’m very grate­ful to the Holy Fa­ther for giv­ing me this leave to re­turn to Aus­tralia. I’ve spo­ken to my lawyers about when this will be nec­es­sary.

And I’ve spo­ken to my doc­tors about the best way to achieve this. All along, I have been com­pletely con­sis­tent and clear in my to­tal re­jec­tion of these al­le­ga­tions.

News of these charges strength­ens my re­solve, strength­ens my re­solve. And court pro­ceed­ings now of­fer me an op­por­tu­nity to clear my name and then re­turn here back to Rome to work. Thank you.

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