George Pell funeral: Church takes down sexual assault survivor ribbons
Survivors returned ahead of the cardinal's funeral in Sydney as mourners gathered outside.
Ribbons tied to the gates of St Mary’s Cathedral on Wednesday in support of child sexual abuse survivors have been torn down overnight, ahead of the funeral of Cardinal George Pell.
As a few hundred people gathered outside to mourn the controversial cardinal on Thursday morning, survivor supporters returned to re-tie ribbons to fences surrounding the Catholic cathedral but were met by a security guard who ordered them down. Tense negotiations followed with police becoming involved.
A representative of the church arrived and attempted to usher the discussion away from cameras as she outlined a small section of the fence where it was allowing ribbons to be tied.
Survivor supporter Jeremy told Yahoo News Australia he believes survivors haven’t been listened to historically. He said it is a shame that the church has opposed the protest. “The ribbons represent an opportunity to heal for survivors that were put through so much and then shamed for it, and just not listened to… I just want to show them that we do see them and we do hear them.”
Separate protest stopped from approaching cathedral
A separate LGBT protest has been prevented from protesting near the church. NSW Police had worked to block the activists from rallying outside St Mary's Cathedral during Cardinal Pell's funeral procession, citing public safety concerns.
Demonstrators later agreed to alter the protest route and a Supreme Court bid to block it was withdrawn. Cardinal Pell's body has been lying in state at St Mary's Cathedral ahead of a requiem mass and the associated protest on Thursday.
Controversial cardinal dies suddenly
Following hip surgery, Cardinal Pell died suddenly from heart complications in Rome on January 10, leaving behind a divisive legacy.
The 81-year-old former archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney was Australia’s highest ranking Catholic and The Vatican's third most powerful man.
In December, 2018 Cardinal Pell was convicted of sexually abusing two teenage choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1966 — a crime he would spend 400 days in jail for. But in 2020, the convictions were quashed on appeal to the High Court. Weeks later, Cardinal Pell was also found by a powerful Royal Commission inquiry to be covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests and Christian Brothers in 1973. The cover-ups and allegations have meant Cardinal Pell is not looked on favourably by many, with his death and funeral bringing up pain for survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church.
with Nicole Iliagoueva and AAP
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