On Thursday, mourners at Cardinal George Pell’s funeral in Australia whispered prayers and softly sang hymns, but sometimes they were drowned out by protesters who said he was going to hell.

The Catholic priest, who died last month at age 81 due to complications from surgery, left behind a complicated legacy.

He was Australia’s most important Catholic when he worked for the Pope.

But unproven claims that he both hid and did sexual abuse of children hurt his public image.

On Thursday, these claims were a big deal in Sydney. At one point, police stepped in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral to separate angry mourners and protesters who were chanting. An earlier protester was taken into custody.

Cardinal George Pell was the city’s archbishop for more than ten years. Inside the church, dignitaries like former Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott filled the pews. Hundreds more people gathered in a forecourt to watch the requiem Mass on big screens.

The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and the Premier of New South Wales, Dominic Perrottet, who is also a very religious Catholic, were not there. Each sent a representative.

In a message read to the congregation, Pope Francis praised Cardinal George Pell” dedication to the gospel and to the Church.” The Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, praised him as a “giant of the Catholic Church in Australia” who had been wrongly demonised.

Cardinal George Pell became well-known in the Church over the course of 60 years because he stood up for traditional Catholic values.

He became the Vatican’s treasurer in 2014, but he left in 2017 and went back to Australia to face charges of sexual abuse of a child. He was found guilty, but was later cleared after an appeal.

Many people who support Cardinal Pell think he was treated unfairly and that his record on the issue of sexual abuse of children is part of what made him great.

When he spoke at the funeral, Mr. Abbott said that Cardinal George Pell was the first Australian Catholic to fire people who abused children and tell the police about them. Others said that the compensation plan he set up was a landmark, but it was also controversial.

Mr. Abbott said, “He was the best person I’ve ever met.”
Others who came to pay their respects said he was a kind man who was quick to help and cheer up people who were having a hard time.

One person who was sad about the cardinal’s death told the BBC that he hopes he will be remembered “for the things he did, not for the things he was accused of.”

Nathan, who is 33, added, “He was a good man.” “Contrary to what most people think, he fought for the rights of many people.”

But outside of the cathedral square, people who had been abused as children remembered him as someone who had not done anything to help them.

Some people came from other states to tie ribbons to the church fence. This was seen as a way to honour the victims of the Church abuse crisis in Australia. Most of them were cut down Wednesday night by people who supported Cardinal Pell.

A major investigation into sexual abuse of children in Australia found that Cardinal Pell knew about abuse by priests as early as the 1970s but did nothing about it. Cardinal Pell didn’t agree with the results, saying that they weren’t backed up by evidence.

Maureen, who is 75 years old, came to leave a ribbon for a close friend who was abused by a Catholic teacher when they were young.

“I can’t let today go by without making a stand for him. He isn’t healthy enough to stand on his own “the BBC, she said.

Cardinal Pell was remembered by protesters in the park across from the cathedral as a “monstrous bigot.”

“George Pell stood for open homophobia, misogyny, and covering up abuse in the Catholic Church,” organiser Kim Stern told the BBC.

“We think it’s pretty disgusting that this is how he’s being sent off.”

Australia does not shed many tears over the death of Cardinal Pell.
Police were also there in large numbers to try to calm things down.

After weeks of heated debate in Australia about Cardinal Pell’s legacy, his funeral is on Thursday.

Louisa Pastoois liked the cardinal, but she told the BBC that she has come to terms with the fact that his legacy will be mixed.

Louisa said, “The legacy he leaves behind in the Church and in the world is different.”

“I think someone had to take the blame for everything that’s gone wrong in the church… Sins have to have a face, and unfortunately, his was it.”

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