Late Australian Cardinal George Pell’s funeral sparks Sydney protests

SYDNEY: Protesters confront mourners with chants of “shame” outside the funeral of controversial top cardinal George of the Vatican pray in Sydney on Thursday.
Pell died in Rome last month at the age of 81 and was buried in the crypt of St Mary’s Church amid angry protests and a massive police presence.
Scandalized in his later years, Pell was the highest-ranking Catholic to be jailed for child sex abuse, before his conviction was overturned in 2020.
He continues to be divided — supporters call him a “saint of our time”, but campaigners accuse him of protecting pedophile priests while still a high-ranking Church official. festival.
As he was laid to rest, riot police set up barricades to keep protesters away from the thousands of mourners lined up to enter the funeral.
Protesters cried “ashamed” while waving banners declaring “Pell Burn in Hell”.
economist William Coleman63 years old, lined up to pay tribute to Pell, who he said was a “good person” who had been unjustly persecuted.
“I think it’s shameful to try to disrupt a funeral,” he told AFP.
Retired attorney Eric Ziehlke said Cardinal Pell was a “wonderful cleric”.
“I think he completely innocent about the crime for which he is accused,” he told AFP.
Dianne Jacobus, a sex abuse survivor, was among a small group that tied ribbons to the church gates in a symbol of support for victims of the Church.
“It’s about the kids,” she told AFP. “I was abused by a priest when I was 16. How can you honor someone who turned a blind eye?”
A small group of Pell supporters string rosaries on ribbons.
Rainbow Rights Community Action organized a protest to coincide with the start of his funeral, condemning his extreme views on abortion and same-sex marriage.
Pell once said homosexuality was a “much greater health hazard than smoking”, and refused to allow gay people to openly worship Communion while still archbishop of Sydney.
He also acknowledged the Church has been “slow to deal with the suffering” of sexual abuse victims and has “handled the issue very imperfectly”.
‘Courageous leader’
The bustling scene outside contrasted with the solemn ceremony that took place inside the cathedral.
archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher compare Pell to Richard the Lionheart, the medieval Crusader and King of England known as a mighty warrior.
“Twenty-three days ago, the lion’s roar was suddenly extinguished,” Fisher said in his eulogy.
“But George, the lion’s heart, is dressed with a cross on his chest and is ready to wait for his master’s return.”
Former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbotta longtime friend, said Pell was a “Christian warrior” and a “saint of our times”.
“And when I heard the chants, ‘Cardinal Pell may go to hell,’ I thought at least they believed in the afterlife,” he said to applause.
From humble beginnings, Pell has climbed higher in the Catholic Church than any Australian before him.
He was promoted to cardinal in 2003, and in 2014 was placed in charge of the Vatican’s finances as head of the Secretariat for the Economy.
At the time, he was considered the third most powerful figure in the Church.


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