As the funeral of Cardinal George Pell commenced with a procession of clergy and the singing of the great Wesleyan hymn Love Divine, Loves Excelling - shouts and the din of protest outside were heard inside St Mary’s Cathedral.
Someone close to the building was blowing a whistle to disrupt and unsettle.
My thoughts turned to the victims of child sex abuse, thinking the sound I was hearing was a cry from the heart of people whose lives have been traumatised by unspeakable acts perpetrated upon them by wicked and criminal priests who had betrayed Christ.
Undoubtedly there were some in this category shouting in pain to be heard.
Sadly, while the Catholic church, almost all other Christian denominations and almost all other institutions caring for young people have been found guilty of betraying children in decades past, yesterday’s protestors had the wrong man.
But it’s even worse than that.
According to media reports, the noisy protest by a small group (possibly a couple of hundred) in comparison to the thousands of mourners was not organised by victims of clergy sexual abuse.
Some victims undoubtedly were there, but the protest was organised by Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR), known for its promotion of radical transgender ideology to children.
“We’re protesting against Cardinal Pell’s funeral service happening right behind us, where people like Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott are coming out to celebrate the life of a vile bigot [and] homophobic sexist, [who] covered up abuse,” Kim Stern, a CARR organiser, said.
Another CARR speaker, according to Sky News, said:
"We have a right and responsibility to come out and say no, we reject Pell and everything he stood for.
“And we reject anyone who wants to keep his rotten legacy alive, and not only are we going to send Pell straight to hell we are going to send his politics with him.”
Presumably that includes Family First, a party committed to the politics of life and promotion of the natural family’s social and economic security.
Just about everyone in St Mary’s Cathedral also supported Pell’s politics from human rights for the unborn to returning public policy to the idea that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Yet the haters outside wanted to disrupt a solemn requiem mass for a man who abused no child and covered up for no paedophile priest.
And the mainstream media lapped it up, giving them disproportionate coverage.
The ABC even said there were “hundreds more” protestors than mourners, a laughable proposition (the Cathedral alone was packed with more than 1000 mourners) but one that again shows the ABC’s taxpayer-funded anti-Christian bigotry.
Inside the Cathedral and in the overflow watching on video screens outside, feelings ran high.
Applause during a eulogy is not usually the done thing.
The Cardinal’s brother David to put forward perspectives about Pell which don’t suit the mainstream media’s narrative, imploring Pell’s critics to:
“…rid yourself of the woke algorithm of mistruths, half-truths, and outright lies that are being perpetrated. Do your research.”
The clapping of the overflow crowd outside could be heard inside.
By the time former Prime Minister Tony Abbott took to the lectern and began a robust defence of his friend, a floodgate had burst and applause flowed freely during his address, echoing through the cavernous sandstone structure in a show of defiance to the woke, some of whom were sitting behind the altar in bishop’s robes.
“To the smug, to the venal, to the lazy, to the wayward, and to the intellectually sloppy, he (Pell) was an existential reproach – and because that’s all of us, in some way, it’s hardly surprising that he became a target,” Abbott said.
Pell was made a scapegoat for sins of the church no one these days was seeking to cover up.
Earlier brother David took head-on the allegations Pell had covered up for priests sexually abusing children and that he was a supporter of notorious paedophile Gerald Risdale, whom Pell infamously accompanied to court on one occasion.
“I need to remind you that all ordained priests take a vow of obedience to their bishop. That is what George was doing, when he accompanied that perpetrator to court,” David Pell said.
“He was not his friend. He was appalled at what he heard in court and did not go back the next day.
“George did not know, as a junior consultor, of the perpetrator’s crimes and the reason why he was being moved across parishes.”
Abbott said Pell “was the first archbishop to sack misbehaving clergy, and report them to the police, rather than hide them in another parish”.
It was the Christian character of Cardinal Pell that stood out in both eulogies but best summed up by this from Abbott:
“His greatest triumph, in fact, was not to have held the highest ecclesiastical offices of any Australian, but to have kept his faith in circumstances that must have screamed: ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Not to succumb to anger, self-pity or despair – when almost any other human would – and instead to have accepted this modern-day crucifixion, walking humbly in the footsteps of Our Lord; that’s the heroic virtue that makes him, to my mind, a saint for our times.”
Cardinal Pell’s courage to fight for the family, preserving the definition of marriage in public policy, for human rights for the unborn and the vulnerable who are aged or sick has made him a hate figure of the radical left.
By their own words, these political positions of Pell’s are why yesterday’s protest was organised by a prominent “rainbow” group.
“We are going to send his politics with him (to hell),” they told Sky News.
The Family First party is part of the resistance determined to fight for families inspired by the example Pell set in the public square.
We will not back down.
That’s why Abbott’s closing remarks were such rallying cry, not just to Family First, but to everyone engaged in the war against the radical left and the libertarian right.
“And in these times, when it’s more needful than ever to fight the good fight, to stay the course and to keep the faith, it is surely now for the Australian church to trumpet the cause of its greatest champion.”
Vale George Cardinal Pell.
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