Cardinal George Pell has lost his appeal against a child sexual abuse conviction at the Australian Supreme Court in Victoria on Wednesday.
In a brief statement after the verdict was delivered, the Vatican said it "recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence" and that "it is his right to appeal to the High Court".
It made no mention of defrocking the 77-year-old as has happened with other Catholic Church leaders who have been found guilty of child sex abuse.
"While reiterating its respect for the Australian judicial system, as stated on 26 February after the first instance verdict was announced, the Holy See acknowledges the court's decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell's appeal," the statement reads.
"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.
"At this time, together with the Church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members of the clergy who commit such abuse."
Cardinal Pell is the most senior Catholic cleric to have been convicted of child sexual abuse. He was sentenced to six years in prison by Melbourne county court earlier this year after being found guilty in December of one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act with a child.
Court of Appeal Chief Justice Anne Ferguson concluded that the witness's account was credible.
"Throughout his evidence, [the complainant] came across as someone who was telling the truth," she said.
"He did not seek to embellish his evidence or tailor it in a manner favourable to the prosecution.
"As might have been expected, there were some things which he could remember and many things which he could not. And his explanations of why that was so had the ring of truth."
The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, said his thoughts were with the victims of abuse.
"This has been and remains a most difficult time for survivors of child sexual abuse and those who support them," he said.
"We acknowledge the pain that those abused by clergy have experienced through the long process of the trials and appeal of Cardinal Pell.
"We also acknowledge that this judgment will be distressing to many people."
Following a two-year investigation, Cardinal Pell was charged in June 2017 with multiple counts of "historical sexual assault offences". The charges dated back to 1996 when he was serving as Archbishop of Melbourne. He was accused of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys during this time.
Cardinal Pell was serving as Vatican treasurer in Rome when the charges were first brought against him, prompting his return to Australia.
He was placed under "precautionary measures" by the Catholic Church, which included the prohibition "from exercising public ministry and from having any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors".
In a statement at the time, the Cardinal said he was innocent of the charges and that "the whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me". He pleaded "not guilty" in court.
His lawyers have 28 days to file a final appeal against his conviction.