LGBTIQ+ rights protest planned for outside George Pell’s funeral


Protesters will rally against George Pell outside the Catholic Cardinal's funeral
Images: CARR (left), EWTN/YouTube (right)

Protesters are planning to rally outside Catholic Cardinal George Pell’s funeral to condemn his decades-long opposition to LGBTIQ+ rights.

On February 2, Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher will lead a requiem mass for Pell at St Mary’s Cathedral, where Pell served as archbishop.

Pell, who was Australia’s most senior Catholic, died at 81 after complications from surgery in Rome on January 10.

Community Action for Rainbow Rights, a NSW LGBTIQ+ campaign group, has announced their plans for the “Pell go to Hell” rally outside the funeral.

The group describes Pell as a “key figure of right-wing conservatism” who strongly opposed same-sex marriage and women’s rights.

For years, George Pell campaigned against LGBTIQ+ law reform and made derogatory statements about LGBTIQ+ people.

He once condemned same-sex relationships as a “greater health hazard” than smoking. He also suggested abortion was a “worse moral scandal” than child sexual abuse by clergy.

As recently as 2022, Pell was still arguing that accepting homosexuality would “destroy” the Catholic Church.

‘We reject Pell and everything he stood for’

Community Action for Rainbow Rights co-convener April Holcombe said protesters will rally to “reject George Pell and everything he stood for”.

“In terms of protesting him, importantly, what we see from politicians and the press is a chorus of mourning for this man,” Holcombe told the Guardian.

“Tony Abbott called him a ‘saint for our times’, an inspiration for the ages. And John Howard said he should never have even been charged, let alone convicted.

“When this is the response of official society and the political elite, it’s really important that progressive forces, forces for justice, make their voices heard.”

The group protested against Pell when he was appointed archbishop of Sydney in 2001.

Now two decades later, the group will convene protesters outside the fountain at Hyde Park North, across the road from St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

Read more: That time David Marr nailed Cardinal George Pell

This week queer satirist Pauline Pantsdown, a.k.a. Simon Hunt, called for people to tie coloured ribbons to the fence of St Mary’s Cathedral ahead of the funeral.

The coloured ribbons are to “remember the victims, not the enabler” of clergy abuse, Hunt said. The initiative started in Ballarat during the Royal Commission.

Simon Hunt posted footage of the ribbons at St Mary’s Cathedral, before church staff periodically removed them.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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