Australia's most senior Catholic figure facing historic sexual abuse charges

Victorian police have been given the green light to charge Australia's most senior catholic figure, Cardinal George Pell.

According to the Herald Sun, the Director of Public Prosecutions supplied police with their recommendation which suggests authorities can charge the Cardinal after allegedly sexually assaulting up to 10 boys over a 23 year period.

The alleged offending happened when Mr Pell was a priest in the Victorian town of Ballarat in the 1970's, the Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990's, and during his time as the Archbishop of Sydney.

Despite the claims, Mr Pell denies all of the accusations.

"[I] would just like to restate my innocence, I stand by everything I said," he told reporters while in Rome recently.

There may be some complications however, if authorities decide to charge Mr Pell they might not be able to get him back to Australia.

Mr Pell currently lives in the Catholic stronghold of the Vatican City where the Pope also lives, but Australia only has an extradition agreement with Italy which means Mr Pell would have to volunteer to go back to Australia to face the charges.