abbott pell
© Joel Carrett/ David Crosling/AAP
Tony Abbott was spotted visiting Melbourne Assessment Prison on Monday.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has been spotted visiting convicted paedophile Cardinal George Pell at his Melbourne prison.

While Abbott did not confirm who he was visiting when he was seen at Melbourne Assessment Prison on Monday morning, the disgraced cardinal is its most high-profile resident.

Abbott and Pell have been close friends for many years.

"Look, I was simply visiting a friend that's all," Abbott told 7NEWS.

Earlier this year, the 78-year-old former archbishop of Sydney turned Vatican adviser was convicted by a jury of the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996.

He was jailed for six years with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

Pell is currently waiting to appeal his conviction in the High Court, which is expected to happen next year with March mooted as the earliest date it may be heard.

Days after Pell's conviction became public knowledge, Abbott called him, later telling 2GB's Ben Fordham the crimes for which he had been convicted don't "sound consistent with the man I have known".

Abbott said the conviction was "devastating for all who believe in the Catholic church, and I'm also one of those".