Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s tribute to Australia’s most influential Catholic, George Pell, raised eyebrows after the scandalous church leader’s death on Wednesday.
Cardinal Pell died at the age of 81 in a Rome hospital after complications from a hip replacement surgery.
He returned to the Vatican in September 2020, six months after he was acquitted of child sexual abuse charges.
Mr Abbott called Cardinal Pell a “great leader” in a statement.
“As an ecclesiastical and cultural conservative, he has drawn praise and censure from all the quarters expected,” Abbott said.
“His imprisonment on a charge that the Supreme Court ultimately vehemently dismissed was a modern form of crucifixion; reputationally at least kind of a living death.
“His prison diaries should become classics: a beautiful man struggles with a cruel fate and tries to understand the injustice of suffering.
“In his own way, taking such a cold-blooded attitude towards the monstrous accusation, he seems to me a saint of our time.
“Like everyone who knew him, I feel a deep sense of loss, but I am confident that his reputation will grow and grow, that he will become an inspiration for the ages.”
But one popular Australian news anchor called the tribute to Mr Abbott unacceptable.
Channel 7 news anchor Jacqueline Felgate shared a photo of Tony Abbott’s statement immediately after it was released, along with a brutal three-word caption.
“Beyond,” she wrote.
This was agreed by some of her high-ranking subscribers.
“That can not be true”, Neighbors responded star Olympia Valance.
She was not alone. Critics wasted no time expressing their opinions on the Internet after the news of Pell’s death became known.
George Pell is dead. It will be a very exciting day for many people. Thinking about them” four corners reporter Louise Milligan, who has written extensively about the Catholic leader, tweeted.
“Thinking of the victims and their families who have been treated so horribly by this man and his aides for many decades.” wrote journalist Susie Smith, who also wrote extensively about Pella.
News.com.au contributor Nina Fannell said her thoughts were also with abuse victims. in the hands of the church.
“Today I remember every victim and child sexual abuse survivor he harmed and every pedophile he covered,” she tweeted.
“Today I remember all those victims who are no longer with us. And I support all those survivors who are still alive.”
Victoria Minister for Tourism, Sports, Major Events and Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos said it was a difficult day for a number of reasons.
“Today will be a very difficult day for the family and loved ones of the Cardinal, but also a very difficult day for survivors and victims of child sexual abuse and their families, and I think of them,” he said.
Iconic Australian actress Magda Szubansky simply tweeted: “George Pell is dead. If you have nothing good to say about someone…”
Abbott was not alone in the wave church leaders and conservatives mourn the loss of Pell and defend his legacy.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Cardinal George Pell passed away a few hours ago from heart complications following hip surgery. May eternal light now rest with those who so unshakably believed in God Jesus Christ,” said Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne.
Andrew Bolt of News Corp. wrote in a column written on Wednesday that Pell was the victim of unfair criticism in the media and was an “inspirational” person.
Look at the Twitter taunts of Pell’s death – ‘rot in hell’, ‘bastard’ and ‘need to know if George Pell felt any pain before he died like a cockroach’, he wrote.
“Pell, a Christian, would never have been so ruthless. This is the great moral abyss – Christians versus barbarians – into which he has fallen.”
“One of the two ‘victims’ even told his parents that there was no rape, and the High Court decided, seven judges to zero, that Pell was innocent.
“Pell has always suspected that the Vatican’s top clergy planted or supported these strange accusations in order to prevent him from investigating them for corruption. One of his enemies is now on trial.
“However, to this day, thousands of Australians still prefer this pedophile Pell lie and ABC has never apologized for promoting it. Like Nero, they would rather crucify an innocent Christian than hear the truth.”
Mount Isa federal crossbender Bob Cutter called the public’s attitude toward Pell “evil”.
“The persecution and imprisonment of Pell was evil,” he wrote.
“The hero of Pell was Jesus Christ, he died cruelly on the cross. Pell’s hero called them “humanist ideologists,” every day showing ambition, “whitewashed tombs.”
“A man with a powerful determination to do good, but the brutality of his later years reminds us that, as Christians, persecution is almost our identification marker.
“But let’s draw inspiration from this tall figure, who, while in prison and destroyed, did not utter a single bad word against the fascist forces that attacked him.”
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews on Thursday ruled out holding a state memorial service for the late cardinal, saying he could think of nothing “more distressing” for the “surviving victims”. “I think more importantly, this will be a very difficult time for survivors to send the clearest possible message that we see you, we believe in you, we support you,” he said.
#Jacqueline #Felgate #News #criticized #Tony #Abbotts #tribute #George #Pell