Cardinal Re:Faith supported Cardinal Pell in difficult last years

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re celebrates the funeral mass of the late Australian Cardinal George Pell, with Pope Francis presiding over the rites of Ultima Commendatio and Valedictio.

By Amedeo Lomonaco

The Requiem Mass of Cardinal George Pell, Prefect Emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy, who died unexpectedly on January 10, was celebrated Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In his funeral homily, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, recalled that “the unexpected end of Cardinal George Pell’s earthly life has taken us all by surprise”.

The late Australian-born cardinal “was with us to concelebrate the funeral Mass for Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI in the forecourt of the basilica and, despite his 81 years, appeared to be in good health.”

Funeral Mass of Cardinal Pell

Funeral Mass of Cardinal Pell

Cardinal Pell suffered but trusted in God

Cardinal Re then recalled that the last years of the late Cardinal Pell’s life were “marked by an unjust and painful condemnation”.

“In June 2017, he was charged with sexual assault in Australia, and the trial resulted in a prison sentence,” he said. “Cardinal Pell spent 404 days in the cells of two maximum security prisons, in Melbourne and then Barwon, including a period of solitary confinement.”

Subsequently, the Cardinal Dean noted, the Australian Supreme Court acquitted Cardinal Pell in April 2020 by overturning the guilty verdict.

“It was an experience of great suffering, endured with confidence in God’s judgment,” said Cardinal Re, who said it was an example of how even unjust punishments can be accepted with dignity and inner peace.

Faith and prayer, added the Cardinal Dean, were of great comfort and support to Cardinal Pell during this difficult time.

“To make known how much faith and prayer help us in life’s difficult moments and also to support those who suffer unjustly,” said Cardinal Re, “published a diary written during his long days in prison.”

Cardinal Re celebrated the funeral mass

Cardinal Re celebrated the funeral mass

A man of God

Finally, Cardinal Re emphasized that the late Cardinal Pell was a “man of God and man of the Church, characterized by deep faith and great steadfastness in doctrine, which he always defended without hesitation and with courage, concerned only to be faithful to Christ.”

At the end of the Eucharist, Pope Francis presided over the rituals of the Eucharist Last recommendation and Goodbye.

Pope Francis presides over the last rites

Pope Francis presides over the last rites

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