Pell’s secret memo casts shadow at cardinal’s funeral

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Around 300 people attended Pell’s funeral mass in a secondary chapel of St Peter’s Basilica. In accordance with the tradition of dead Cardinals, the Mass was celebrated by the dean of the College of Cardinals, the Italian Giovanni Battista Re.

Francis arrived at the end to give the final blessing in Latin on the dark brown wooden coffin on the floor. The coffin was incensed and sprinkled with holy water.

Kliem Re was less a homily than a biography of Pell, aged 81, who died Tuesday evening in a Rome hospital of heart failure during a hip replacement operation.

Re mentioned that Pell had spent more than a year in prison before being released on sexual abuse allegations in his native Australia in 2020.

“The last years of his life were characterized by an unjust and painful conviction,” said Re.

SNAP, an advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by the clergy, in a statement had asked the Vatican to show “restraint” in the funeral arrangements “until the hierarchy of the Church wants to deepen already deep wounds”.

But Pell was given the standard solemn Vatican funeral for a cardinal. King began the service by reading the full text of a message the Pope released on Wednesday praising Pell for persevering in trying times.

The small talk after the funeral, particularly among diplomats and journalists, centered around the bombshell revelation.

Last year, respected Italian journalist Sandro Magister, who has a long record of receiving leaked Vatican documents, published an anonymous memo circulating in the Vatican condemning the papacy of Pope Francis as a “catastrophe “.

The day after Pell died, Magister revealed on his blog Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven) that it was Pell who wrote the memo and gave him permission to publish it under the pseudonym “Demos” – in Greek for the people . It included what the author said should be the qualities of the next Pope.

“Commentators of every school, if for different reasons… agree that this pontificate is a disaster in many or many 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 proper respect for the law and ensure that the first criterion for the nomination of bishops is the acceptance of the apostolic tradition,” she says. .

Father Joseph Hamilton, Pell’s personal secretary, refused to comment on the Magistrate’s report and Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he had no comment.

Hamilton told Reuters after the funeral that Pell’s body would be flown to Australia early next week to be buried in the crypt at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, where he served as archbishop.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Mark Potter)

By Philip Pullella

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