A once high-ranking Australian cardinal who spent more than a year in prison before his child abuse convictions were squashed on appeal will be interred on Feb. 2 after a requiem Mass at Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, the church said Tuesday.
Cardinal George Pell, 81, died on Jan. 10, shortly after undergoing hip surgery in a Rome hospital. As the Vatican’s finance minister for three years, Pell had been a key player in the early years of Pope Francis’ papacy, whose goals included reforming the Holy See’s finances, which had a long history of scandals and poor management.
Pell returned to his native Australia in 2017 to be tried on child sex abuse charges over allegations that he molested two choirboys while he was archbishop of Melbourne. He served 404 days in solitary confinement before his convictions were overturned in 2020.
Pell’s funeral was held at St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday, with Francis imparting a final blessing.
Pell will lie in state at St. Mary’s from Feb. 1 before he is interred in the cathedral’s crypt the next day, Sydney’s Catholic Archdiocese said in a statement.
Pell’s successor as archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, will be the principal celebrant at the requiem Mass.
St. Mary’s Cathedral dean, the Rev. Don Richardson, said thousands of mourners were expected to attend the Mass.
“Cardinal Pell left a remarkable legacy for the Catholic Church in Australia and this will undoubtedly be one of the most significant funerals ever held at the cathedral," Richardson said in a statement.
The Mass will be livestreamed by the cathedral to allow mourners around the world to participate in the ceremony, which will also be shown on large screens outside.