After two trials and an appeal, Melbourne's Archbishop Peter Comensoli says everyone should respect the court's decision to convict George Pell of child sexual abuse.
The Court of Appeal on Wednesday rejected Pell's fight to overturn his conviction for assaulting two choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral in the 1990s.
"I respectfully receive the court's decision and I encourage everyone to do the same," Archbishop Comensoli said in a statement.
"That there have been two trials and now today's decision in the Court of Appeal, the complexity of the search for the truth in this matter has tested many and may very well continue to do so."
Archbishop Comensoli, who last week revealed he had visited Pell in jail, said he would continue to ensure the fallen cardinal was offered pastoral and spiritual support "according to the teaching and example of Jesus to visit those in prison".
He also acknowledged the victim whose complaint brought down one of the Vatican's most powerful men.
"I humbly acknowledge it has been a challenging time for him and I stand ready to offer pastoral and spiritual help, should he seek it."
Archbishop Comensoli, along with the Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, acknowledged the case meant the Catholic Church was again confronted by its terrible history of child abuse.
"We acknowledge the pain that those abused by clergy have experienced through the long process of the trials and appeal of Cardinal Pell," the Bishops Conference said in a statement.
"We also acknowledge that this judgment will be distressing to many people.
"We remain committed to doing everything we can to bring healing to those who have suffered greatly and to ensuring that Catholic settings are the safest possible places for all people, but especially for children and vulnerable adults."
Bishop Bird said Pell's failed appeal was the culmination of months of uncertainty.
He said there was a special impact on people in the Ballarat community, because Pell was born in the city, was an assistant priest there and was an Episcopal Vicar for Education in Diocese of Ballarat.
"This is also a troubling time for our Catholic community throughout the whole Ballarat diocese, not only because of Cardinal Pell's connections with our diocese but also because the entire church community is again confronted by the terrible history of abuse of children and the breach of trust that that abuse involved," Bishop Bird said.
"I hope and pray that the finalisation of the legal processes will bring some sense of resolution to all those affected by the proceedings."
Australian Associated Press