Australian newspaper complains of censorship after gag order prevents coverage of Catholic sex scandal

An Australian newspaper on Thursday published a front page that drew attention to a gag order in the country that prevents it from publishing details on the trial of a former Vatican official accused of sexual abuse, labeling themselves "censored."

The Herald Sun in Melbourne published a front page that featured the word "CENSORED" printed largely on a black background.

“The world is reading a very important story that is relevant to Victorians,” the story's subhead reads. “The Herald Sun is prevented from publishing details of this significant news. But trust us. It’s a story you deserve to read.”


The story pertains to Cardinal George Pell, a high-ranking Vatican official who was accused of sexual abuse and forced to stand trial in Australia. He has denied the allegations, but according to multiple reports was found guilty by a jury on Tuesday.

The Herald Sun reported on Thursday morning local time that Pell, 77, has since been removed from Pope Francis' inner-circle of advisers.

The Washington Post reported that a court-issued gag order in the country prevents the press there from publishing details on Pell's case or the jury's findings. The order was intended to maintain impartiality, and is still in effect because there is said to be another case against Pell in the court system, The Post reported.

The Catholic Church has in recent years been rocked by a slew of sexual abuse allegations.

The U.S. conference of Catholic bishops in September announced measures to hold predators within the church accountable in the wake of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed hundreds of instances of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. The conference last month delayed a vote on the changes at Pope Francis's request.