SYDNEY ( Associated Press) — An Australian cardinal who spent more than a year in prison for child sex abuse after being overturned by an appeals court will be buried at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on February 2 after a prayer service. Tuesday
Cardinal George Pell died on 10 January following hip surgery in a hospital in Rome. He was 81 years old. As Vatican finance minister for three years, he was a key figure in the early years of Pope Francis’ pontificate, one of the goals of which was to reform the Holy See’s finances, marred by years of scandals and mismanagement.
In 2017, Pell returned to his native Australia to answer allegations of abusing two choirboys while Archbishop of Melbourne. He spent 404 days in solitary confinement until his conviction was overturned in 2020.
Pell’s funeral was held at St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday, with Pope Francis giving the final blessing.
The Sydney Archdiocese said in a statement that Pell’s body would be placed in the chapel at St Mary’s Cathedral from February 1 and buried in the cathedral crypt the following day.
Pell’s successor as Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, will celebrate the requiem Mass.
The rector of the church, Father Don Richardson, said thousands of people were expected to attend the mass.
“Cardinal Pell has left a remarkable legacy for the Catholic Church in Australia and this will undoubtedly be one of the most important funerals ever held at the cathedral,” Richardson said in a statement.
The mass will be broadcast online by the cathedral so that worshipers in all parts of the world can take part in the ceremony, which will also be shown on large screens outside.