Disgraced and disappointed, pedophile Cardinal George Pell faces a reunion with old friends behind bars as he looks beyond his failed first shot at freedom.
Victoria's Court of Appeal has upheld his December conviction for the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.
He sat emotionless in the dock at Melbourne's Supreme Court as Chief Justice Anne Ferguson read out the 2-1 majority decision to keep him behind bars for up to six years.
"Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today," his legal team said.
He maintains his innocence and they're now examining the court's 325-page judgment to determine the potential for a shot at a High Court appeal.
Justice Ferguson read a summary of the judgment, revealing she and court President Chris Maxwell agreed that Pell's first appeal, on grounds that the verdicts were "unsafe and unsatisfactory", should be dismissed.
One of Pell's victims died in 2014, while the other gave evidence at trial.
"Throughout his evidence (the victim) came across as someone who was telling the truth," Justice Ferguson said.
"He did not seek to embellish his evidence or tailor it in a manner favourable to the prosecution."
But in a lengthy dissenting judgment, Justice Mark Weinberg said he thought Pell should be acquitted of all charges for reasons including inconsistencies in the survivor's account.
"Having had regard to the whole of the evidence led at trial, and having deliberated long and hard over this matter, I find myself in the position of having a genuine doubt as to the applicant's guilt," he said.
Now in his 30s, the survivor said he felt a responsibility to come forward after the death of the other victim, his childhood friend.
"The experiences I have been through have helped me understand what is truly important," he said.
Survivors were out in force on Wednesday, cheering outside the court as the world's most senior Catholic to be jailed for child sexual abuse had his conviction upheld.
"Justice has been done," survivor John Lawrance told reporters.
Chrissie Foster, whose daughters were abused by a pedophile priest, said truth won despite Pell having the best defence money could buy.
Justice Ferguson described the case as having divided the community and that was apparent in verbal clashes outside court.
"I can't see any evidence that he's done what he's done," said Karen, who was shouted down with claims she was evil.
Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli encouraged respect for the decision but acknowledged the search for truth had tested many Catholics.
The Vatican press office acknowledged the decision.
"As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court," press officer Matteo Bruni said.
Pell now faces the prospect of being transferred to the Hopkins Correctional Facility at Ararat, 100km west of his hometown Ballarat.
It's there he could reunite with old colleagues, including Australia's most prolific pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, who admits abusing 65 children.
They lived together in 1973 in the presbytery at St Alipius church and boys primary school in Ballarat where another Ararat inmate, Christian Brother Robert Best, abused some of his more than 30 victims from 1968 to 1973.
The Court of Appeal's full decision document reveals the judges watched more than 30 hours of recorded testimony from 12 of the 24 trial witnesses, read more than 2000 pages of transcripts, visited the cathedral and examined Pell's ornamental robes.
They took 11 weeks to deliver the decision, after the two-day appeal hearing in June.
All three unanimously rejected applications for two separate grounds of appeal, including finding trial Judge Peter Kidd was right to ban Pell's defence from showing the jury an animation to sum up their case.
They also ruled that Pell was not required to be physically present in front of the jury pool when officially asked how he pleaded. Presence via videolink, as occurred, was sufficient.
The earliest Pell can be released is October 2022, when he will be 81.
Australian Associated Press