Tonny Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia, touches the casket of Australian Cardinal George Pell during his funeral Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney Feb. 2, 2023. Cardinal Pell, former prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, died Jan. 10 in Rome at the age of 81. (OSV News photo/Giovanni Portelli, The Catholic Weekly)
SYDNEY (OSV News) — The Catholic Church in Sydney bid farewell to its former archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, in a funeral at times solemn, reverent, defiant and sorrowful, shot through with wry Australian humor, and attended by mourners from all walks of life.
The cardinal remained a sign of contradiction until the very end, with protesters’ shouts of “George Pell, go to Hell” clearly audible inside St. Mary’s Cathedral at several points, and the congregation bursting into spontaneous applause and shouts of “hear, hear” during the homily and eulogies.
After the Feb. 2 Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s, the cardinal’s remains were interred in the cathedral crypt alongside his predecessors.
In his homily, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Cardinal Pell’s successor as archbishop of Sydney, described the cardinal as a “lion of the church” — a “giant of a man with a big vision,” who proclaimed the Gospel “shamelessly, vehemently, courageously to the end.”
“He had a big heart, too, strong enough to fight for the faith and endure persecution, but soft enough to care for priests, youth, the homeless, prisoners and imperfect Christians,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“Ultimately that heart gave out, but only after more than 80 years of being gradually conformed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Cardinal Pell’s brother, David Pell, gave the principal eulogy, describing him as “a prince of the church, a good and holy man, and a proud Australian.”
Pell told mourners about the toll “the relentless campaign to smear George’s life” had taken on his family, and spoke for a final time in his brother’s defense, saying his “regularly reported lack of sympathy for victims is simply untrue.”
“We sympathize with the legitimate victims and are in complete abhorrence at the criminals. Our own family has not been immune to this evil,” he said.
READ ON BELOW>>>Thousands flock to Sydney’s cathedral for funeral of Cardinal Pell, a ‘lion of the Church’ – Detroit Catholic
Thousands flock to Sydney’s cathedral for funeral of Cardinal Pell, a ‘lion of the Church’ – Detroit Catholic