Australia's senior Catholic

'I'm innocent of these charges' - Cardinal Pell

Cardinal Pell said he looked forward to clearing his name.

He will appear in a Melbourne court next month, following charges laid today by Victorian Police.

Speaking at a Vatican news conference, the Cardinal said the charges were false.

"I'm looking forward finally to having my day in court. I'm innocent of these charges, they are false," he said.

"The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me."

Cardinal Pell: Australia's senior Catholic charged with sex offences

The charges relate to alleged "historical" incidents, police in the Australian state of Victoria said.

The allegations against the Vatican treasurer were made by more than one person, according to Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton.

Cardinal Pell, who is based in the Vatican, has vehemently denied the accusations.

"Cardinal Pell will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name following advice and approval by his doctors who will also advise on his travel arrangements," the Church said in a statement on Thursday.