Several dozen people, cardinals, bishops and archbishops, participated Saturday January 14 in the basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican at the funeral of the controversial Australian cardinal George Pell who had been imprisoned for sexual abuse of children.
The religious ceremony, about an hour and a half, was led by Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the college of cardinals, with Pope Francis arriving in a wheelchair for the last few minutes and prayer.
Cardinal Pell died at the age of 81 last Tuesday in Rome from heart complications following hip surgery.
George Pell was the top Vatican official imprisoned for child sex abuse.
He had been sentenced to six years in prison in 2019 and was listed as a sex offender.
He had notably been accused of having abused two altar boys when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.
After spending 12 months behind bars, his convictions were overturned on appeal by the High Court of Australia.
It was an experience of great suffering, borne with trust in God's justice, setting an example of how to accept even unjust punishments with dignity and inner peace
,” Cardinal Re said during his homily, qualifying the deceased as a "
man of God and of the Church
The Prime Minister of Victoria, Australia, where George Pell was from, on the other hand, refused to hold a taxpayer-funded public memorial service for the cardinal, saying such a ceremony would have been “
for victims of sexual abuse.
There will be no memorial service or state funeral because I think that would be a deeply, deeply sickening thing for all surviving victims of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church,
" he said. Daniel Andrews in front of reporters.