VATICAN CITY, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Pope Francis gave a funeral blessing to Cardinal George Pell on Saturday as revelations that he wrote an nameless memo branding the present papacy a “catastrophe” hung within the air together with the incense.
About 300 folks attended Pell’s funeral Mass in a secondary chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica. In protecting with custom for deceased cardinals, the Mass was mentioned by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Italian Giovanni Battista Re.
Francis arrived at the tip to gave the ultimate blessing in Latin over the darkish brown picket coffin on the ground. The coffin was incensed and sprinkled with holy water.
Re’s phrases had been much less a homily than a biography of Pell, 81, who died on Tuesday evening in a Rome hospital of coronary heart failure throughout hip alternative surgical procedure.
Re talked about that Pell had spent greater than a yr in jail earlier than being acquitted of sexual abuse allegations in his native Australia in 2020.
“The last years of his life were marked by an unjust and painful condemnation,” Re mentioned.
SNAP, an advocacy group for victims of clergy sexual abuse, in a press release had referred to as on the Vatican to point out “restraint” in funeral preparations “unless the Church hierarchy wants to deepen already deep wounds”.
But Pell was given a regular solemn Vatican funeral for a cardinal. Re started the service by studying out the complete textual content of a message the pope issued on Wednesday praising Pell for persevering in attempting occasions.
The small speak after the funeral, notably amongst diplomats and journalists, centred across the bombshell revelation.
Last yr, revered Italian journalist Sandro Magister, who has an extended monitor file of receiving leaked Vatican paperwork, printed an nameless memo circulating within the Vatican condemning Pope Francis’ papacy as a “catastrophe”.
The day after Pell died, Magister disclosed on his broadly learn weblog Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven) that it was Pell who wrote the memo and gave him permission to publish it below the pseudonym “Demos” – Greek for populace. It included what the creator mentioned ought to be the qualities of the following pope.
“Commentators of every school, if for different reasons … agree that this pontificate is a disaster in many or most respects; a catastrophe,” the memo begins.
“The first tasks of the new pope will be to restore normality, restore doctrinal clarity in faith and morals, restore a proper respect for the law and ensure that the first criterion for the nomination of bishops is acceptance of the apostolic tradition,” it reads.
Father Joseph Hamilton, Pell’s private secretary, declined to touch upon Magister’s report and Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni mentioned it had no remark.
Hamilton advised Reuters after the funeral that Pell’s physique will likely be flown to Australia early subsequent week to be buried within the crypt at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, the place he served as archbishop.
Reporting by Philip Pullella
Editing by Mark Potter
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