Vatican City: Cardinal George Pell said on Thursday he would take leave from his senior Vatican post to return to Australia to face sex abuse charges, which he said he totally rejected.
"I am looking forward finally to having my day in court. I am innocent of these charges," Pell said in a statement.
"They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me," added Pell, the number three in the Catholic Church's hierarchy, after Victoria police announced he had been charged with historical child sex offences.