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Cardinal George Pell. Photo: William West/AFP/Getty Images

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's third-highest ranking member, was convicted by an Australian court Tuesday on charges related to the sexual abuse of two choir boys in the late 1990s, reports The Daily Beast. He's reportedly the highest ranking Vatican official to go to trial and face punishment in the church’s sex abuse scandal.

Why it matters: This is yet another major blow to the Catholic Church, one of the world’s most powerful institutions, which has been grappling with mounting child sex abuse scandals across the globe, including in the U.S. Pope Francis, who has faced some backlash over his handing of sexual abuse cases, on Wednesday expelled Pell and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz of Chile from a Vatican advisory group. Errázuriz has been accused of covering up cases for abusive priests.

Go deeper with the New York Times' Damien Cave and Adam Baidawi: Why the Cardinal Pell Case Has Been So Secretive

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios