Furious Catholics have clashed with hundreds of protestors chanting ‘George Pell, go to hell’ outside the Cardinal’s funeral.
Australia’s most senior Catholic was laid to rest on Thursday at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney after his death at 81 from hip replacement surgery complications.
LGBTQI activists gathered over the road in Hyde Park before marching to the edge of the street carrying rainbow flags and banners.
They were allowed to stand in the middle of the road chanting ‘George Pell, go to hell’ for about five minutes, just a few metres from more than a thousand mourners outside the cathedral.
The man later clashed with LGBTQI protesters outside the mass
Police managed to get the protesters to move the signs (pictured) further away from the cathedral
A woman alongside the angry Catholic man held up a sign reading ‘anti-Catholic bigotry must end’ and claiming Christians were ‘the most persecuted religious group in the world’
Some mourners shouted abuse at the protesters and confronted police, who stood between the two groups, demanding they be ordered to move.
The demonstrators were allowed to briefly protest between the park and the cathedral in a deal with police, and eventually marched down College Street.
Cardinal Pell’s handling of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests and brothers, homosexuality, and abortion angered many over the course of his life and prompted the protests.
He served 406 days of a six-year sentence over child sexual abuse allegations but always maintained his innocence. The federal court upheld the verdict but the High Court overturned his conviction in 2020.
Daily Mail Australia also filmed irate Pell supporters confronting protesters outside the Sydney cathedral on Thursday morning just before the funeral started.
The man, dressed in a grey T-shirt and shorts, yelled at two protesters holding a ‘Pell burn in hell’ banner across the road from the cathedral with the word ‘hell’ painted as if it was on fire.
‘We want that taken down,’ the supporter told the police officer, who was trying to calm the man.
The supporter then spoke directly to the two protesters holding the sign, and another reading ‘infernal resting place’ pointing towards the ground – and therefore hell.
‘Take it down, you’re aggravating a lot of f**king people,’ he said.
A woman next to him, dressed in business clothes, was holding a sign that read ‘anti-Catholic bigotry must end’.
The cathedral was packed for the requiem mass for Cardinal George Pell before he is buried in Sydney
Cardinal Pell’s coffin is carried out of the cathedral to a waiting hearse to drive it to the crypt underneath
Nuns arriving to pay their respects to George Pell
The man could then be heard asking a protester if they had ‘looked in the mirror’ and asked them ‘are you a dyke?’.
‘Dyke’ is a homophobic slur, typically used against lesbians.
‘I do not respond to dykes so please move, you’re a dyke, that’s not hate speech. Go film your own people, you are not welcome here, go take your f**king sign off, get your people to move, they can go f**k themselves,’ he yelled.
Another protester was roughly frogmarched away from the funeral after loudly blowing a whistle for several minutes just on the other side of the fence.
Several police tried to talk to the man, who asked ‘what am I doing wrong?’
Carrying a rainbow umbrella and wearing a face mask and a ‘facts not stories’ t-shirt, he walked away from the police whenever they approached him, continuing to blow his whistle along the fence line.
When an angry mourner charged towards him threatened to inflame the situation, police outside the closed area surrounded the protester as he yelled, ‘no, I didn’t do anything’ several times.
‘What am I doing? I have a right to be here,’ he said.
Four officers then surrounded the man, pushing him away from the cathedral and vigorously grabbing his umbrella as they marched him towards a waiting paddy wagon.
Another protester was roughly frogmarched away from the funeral after loudly blowing a whistle for several minutes just on the other side of the fence
The demonstrators were allowed to briefly protest between the park and the cathedral in a deal with police, and eventually marched down College Street
Protesters turned onto Oxford Street after they marched past the cathedral and continued through Darlianghurst
Supporters of survivors of sexual abuse had a much quieter protest than the LGBTQI community, tying ribbons to the fence outside St Mary’s Cathedral after they were removed overnight
NSW Police confirmed to Daily Mail Australia the man was ‘moved on’ from the protest but not arrested.
More than a thousand mourners lined up for hours in the hot sun for a chance to get inside the church to watch Cardinal Pell’s funeral, in a queue that stretched around the edge of the cathedral square and up College Street.
The well-wishers included a multitude of ethnicities and nationalities with ages ranging from the elderly to newborn babies, as well as dozens of nuns in white and purple habits, and monks in their cowls.
Catholic men’s group Knights of the Precious Blood had a dozens-strong contingent in their black shirts and entire workplaces attended together in uniform.
Many wore crucifixes or held rosary beads, muttering prayers for Cardinal Pell.
Only a small number made it inside, the rest staying in the square to watch the funeral on large TV screens.
Hundreds of mourners take the eucharist while Pell’s mass is held inside
Hundreds of Sydneysiders queued in the sun for hours to take the eucharist
A picture of Cardinal Pell as a baby was included in the Order of Service handed out to mourners
About 10.15am, a few hundred mourners kneeled on the stone paving to chant the rosary for 15 minutes.
As the funeral began, volunteers handed out orders of service for mourners outside to follow, including hymns and prayers they sang and recited in unison.
Some used them in a desperate attempt to shield themselves from the sun, while a small number came prepared with umbrellas.
Every speech, all glowing with praise for Cardinal Pell, was followed by clapping and cheering.
Halinda Gad, a retired opera singer and Polish immigrant, and her friend held signs declaring Cardinal Pell a ‘white martyr’ and compared him to a cardinal jailed for resisting communism.
‘He was persecuted by the mainstream media and aggressive liberalism, not only in Australia, also in the whole globe,’ she said.
‘That’s why we wanted to pay tribute and ask God that he can be seen [in heaven] immediately, because he suffered a lot.
‘He was jailed twice like our Polish cardinal Stefan Wyszynski… because he didn’t want to collaborate [with the Soviets] and all the country followed him.’
Cardinal Wyszynski was imprisoned by the post-World War II communist regime in Poland for supporting the country’s anti-communist resistance.
‘And the same thing happened to Cardinal George Pell, he was also persecuted for truth, justice, Christian ethics and morality, and deeply loved by I think all Australians,’ she said.
Halinda Gad, retired opera singer and Polish immigrant (right), and a friend held up signs declaring Cardinal Pell’s innocence and claiming he was persecuted
Former prime minister Tony Abbott (pictured right) inside the cathedral. He spoke at the service
Former prime minister John Howard arriving to pay his respects to Cardinal George Pell
Former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott was spotted arriving at the funeral just before it started, as well as Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
Mr Abbott, a close friend of Cardinal Pell, gave an extraordinary eulogy during the service where he made the case for him to be declared Australia second saint.
‘He’s the greatest Catholic Australia has ever produced and one of our country’s greatest sons,’ he said.
‘He should not have been charged in the absence of corroborating evidence and should never have it should never have been convicted in the absence of a plausible case, as the High Court so resoundingly made plain.’
The staunch Catholic mocked protesters outside for their ‘George Pell, go to hell’ slogan as further proof the cardinal should be swiftly canonised.
‘At least they now believe in the afterlife. Saint George Pell’s first miracle,’ he joked during the service.
The crowd’s sang ‘ave Maria’ as hundreds of clergy from around the world slowly marched down College Street in the funeral procession
Cardinal Pell’s hearse was behind them, followed by non-clergy members of the funeral party
They all proceeded under the cathedral for the burial in the crypt, screened on the TVs for mourners outside to watch
Mr Abbott said Cardinal Pell should be included in Catholic religious studies and courses and grants be named after him.
‘Just as there are for the other saints,’ he said.
‘If we can direct our prayers to Mother Teresa, Thomas A Becket and Saint Augustine, why not the late cardinal too, who’s been just as pleasing to God, I’m sure, and has the added virtue of being the very best of us.’
Mr Abbott received a huge cheer as he walked behind the hearse carrying Cardinal Pell’s coffin, waving to the crowd and walking to the fence to shake hands with a few mourners.
His appearance briefly interrupted the crowd’s rousing singing of ‘ave Maria’ as hundreds of clergy from around the world slowly marched down College Street in the funeral procession.
Cardinal Pell’s hearse was behind them, followed by non-clergy members of the funeral party. They all proceeded under the cathedral for the burial.
The coffin was laid to rest in the cathedral’s crypt, and screened on the TVs for mourners outside to watch.
Radio broadcaster Alan Jones (pictured centre) also attended the service but appeared to sit alone
Thousands are expected to attend St Mary’s Cathedral to farewell George Pell
Opposition leader Peter Dutton arriving at the cathedral to pay his respects to George Pell
NSW Police on Wednesday predicted there would be clashes after hundreds of protesters were given the green light to hold a protest outside the funeral.
The activists are protesting Cardinal Pell’s public opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights as well as a child sexual abuse conviction that he was ultimately cleared of.
It comes as officers were called to the cathedral late Wednesday night after mourners approached child abuse activists who had been tying ribbons to the fence.
Footage captured by 9News showed supporters of the cardinal allegedly shouting at the silent protesters.
Police officers were seen breaking up the crowd and talking to people following the clash.
The Today Show filmed police officers sweeping the church on Thursday morning.
‘They have done a sweep inside the church. There are the last half-a-dozen police cars stationed here,’ reporter Lara Vella said.
‘They have been keeping a close eye on a particular group of men who have been doing laps of St Mary’s Cathedral. I have seen them lots and lots of times.’
Clashes outside St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney ahead of Cardinal George Pell funeral
Riot police out in force on Thursday morning ahead of the funeral
Clashes outside St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney ahead of Cardinal George Pell funeral. Picture: 9News
Hundreds of mourners gather outside St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney
NSW Police announced it would attempt to stop the protest in the Supreme Court over ‘safety concerns’ on Tuesday.
But the court was told on Wednesday that ‘alternative arrangements’ to use a different route had been made with protest organisers had been made.
Protesters have been allowed to march through Hyde Park and stand at the square outside the cathedral.
Outside court, Acting Assistant Commissioner Martin Fileman told media it was ‘never the intention’ to stop or oppose any protest activity.
He said there was a ‘risk’ of clashes between protesters and Pell supporters, which is why the ‘buffer zone’ will ‘mitigate the risk’.
CARR organiser Kim Stern told media the action by NSW Police was an attempt to ‘suppress our democratic right to protest’.
Police mix with mourners outside St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday morning
‘They tried to stop us from marching next to the church, they wanted us to march in the opposite direction … they claimed it was a security issue, a safety issue,’ Mr Stern said.
‘I think if we were denied the right to march right up opposite the church… those people would have been very happy if they could have gone in unperturbed by that.’
Mr Stern said it was a massive victory for the activists, who will be able to have their voices heard.
‘Now we’re able to march up right opposite the church and have our voices heard, have a loud, visible, angry rally that’s going to be hearing from survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church,’ he said.