Earlier, I posted on FB and Twitter a Vatican News report with a few photos of the funeral Mass this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals. What I wrote there, I re-post below, along with some photos by CNA photographer Alan Koppschall.

Pope Francis this morning met with the staff, faculty and seminarians of the North American College: Here is a report: Pope encourages future priests to become prophetic witnesses of the Gospel – Vatican News


Speaking personally, today was a very moving morning! So many people came for Cardinal Pell’s funeral Mass…dignitaries and diplomats, men and women religious, friends and family of the Cardinal as well as simple acquaintances…that the ushers had to add rows of chairs to the pews that accommodate several hundred faithful at the celebrated Altar of the Chair in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Scores more remained standing during the funeral Mass, at the end of which Pope Francis appeared for the final commendatio and valedictio, delivered in Latin. As the archbishops and cardinals processed in for Mass, it was hard not to see the sadness on the face of Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, secretary for two decades to the late Benedict XVI, a prelate now bereft of two friendships.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An interesting note that I learned this morning. One of the people who came to pay their respects to the cardinal as he lay in state yesterday in the small and historic church of Santo Stefano degli Abissini was a homeless man who, at night, slept on or near the small square where Cardinal Pell lived. Over the years, it seems, they apparently became friends and I would not be surprised to learn that the cardinal invited him one day to coffee and cornetto at his favorite cafe on the piazza. That would be the cardinal so many of us know!

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re’s homily summarized in Vatican News: Cardinal Re: Faith sustained late Cardinal Pell in difficult final years – Vatican News



When I woke up this morning, I again felt I’d had a very bad dream, that a friend, Cardinal George Pell, had died! As the fog lifted from my brain, I realized it was only too true, that I – and so very many people – had suddenly lost a friend, a great man and priest, a giant of a man in many ways, perhaps starting with his 6’4” height!

Every time I saw Cardinal Pell, or we’d meet by chance in or near St. Peter’s Square or the square where his home was, he’d always have a smile on his face. He was graciousness itself. If he did not know someone who greeted him, he’d greet them back – with a smile. If he knew you, he’d always take or make time for a brief chat. If you happened to walk by the coffee bar he frequented near his home as he was enjoying a cappuccino and cornetto, he might even ask you to join him!

Conversations were always delightful as he was well versed on so many topics, from the Magisterium to money matters, from fine food and wine to football – Australian football, of course! He had once been a footballer in his native country! The cardinal loved to tell stories but also to listen to them, simply because he loved learning.

Cardinal Pell was always up front with the media about his work at the Vatican when he headed the Secretariat for the Economy (2014 – 2019). Though he was fought tooth and nail by some in the Vatican for his investigations into the mini-State’s finances, there was always transparency as he worked to clean out the morass of bad Vatican financial practices, mismanagement, and, as it turned out, money laundering.

I don’t intend at this moment in this space to relive Cardinal Pell’s life – there will be time for other stories. I cannot, however, skip over the more than 400 days he spent in prison in Australia, accused of abuse by two altar services years earlier after Mass in Sydney. Anyone who knew the cardinal, knew the entire story had to be fabricated by the young men, for whatever reason.

Cardinal Pell was on the EWTN set last week during coverage of Pope emeritus BXVI’s funeral –

After those long months in prison, the cardinal was eventually found innocent of all charges by the country’s High Court.

Former Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott, when he learned of Cardinal Pell’s death, described him as a “committed defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a staunch advocate for the virtues of Western Civilization. Abbott said on Twitter: “His incarceration on charges that the High Court ultimately, scathingly dismissed, was a modern form of crucifixion, reputationally at least, a kind of living death. … In his own way, by dealing so equably with such a monstrous allegation, he strikes me as a saint for our times.”

I will write more in coming days. I have some special memories, including one of a terrific dinner evening at my home. Yesterday, I briefly re-read the entry in my guest book for that evening. I have two guest books, one for dinner guests, another for houseguests. They make for marvelous reading, to be honest! After decades of entertaining, I’m now on my fourth dinner guest book!


Pope Francis will preside over the final portion of the funeral of the late Australian Cardinal George Pell on Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The Holy See Press Office announced on Thursday that Pope Francis will preside over the rites of Ultima Commendatio and Valedictio at the funeral of Cardinal George Pell.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, will celebrate the Requiem Mass at 11:30 AM on Saturday, 14 January.

The Mass will take place at the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter in the Vatican Basilica.

A host of other Cardinals and bishops are expected to concelebrate the Mass.

‘Dedicated to the Gospel’

The late Australian Cardinal died on Tuesday in Rome at the age of 81 due to heart complications following a hip operation.

Cardinal Pell had served as the Prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy from April 2014 until February 2019.

Pope Francis expressed his sorrow in a telegram upon learning of the Cardinal’s death.

He recalled Cardinal Pell’s “consistent and committed witness, his dedication to the Gospel and to the Church, and especially his diligent collaboration with the Holy See in its recent economic reform, for which he laid the foundations with determination and wisdom.”

‘Long-lasting impact on Church’

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference also paid tribute to the late Cardinal.

In a statement, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, the Conference’s President, said Cardinal Pell’s “impact on the life of the Church in Australia and around the world will continue to be felt for many years.”




(From Catholic News Agency)

Pope Francis will preside over the funeral of Benedict XVI on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 9:30 a.m. (Rome time) in St. Peter’s Square.

Here is a preview of the readings and prayers that will be offered at the funeral of Benedict XVI:

The collect prayer will be prayed in Latin: 

Let us pray. O God, who in your wondrous providence chose your servant Benedict to preside over your Church, grant, we pray, that, having served as the Vicar of your Son on earth, he may be welcomed by him into eternal glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.

The readings for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s funeral Mass will be:

In the Prayers of the Faithful, the second prayer will be said in German:

For Pope Emeritus Benedict, who has fallen asleep in the Lord: may the eternal Shepherd receive him into his kingdom of light and peace.

At the end of the Prayers of the Faithful, Pope Francis will pray:

God our Father, lover of life, hear the prayers we raise to you with faith in the Risen Lord for Pope Emeritus Benedict and for the needs of the Church and our world. Grant us a share in fellowship with you in the heavenly Jerusalem, where sorrow and tears will be no more. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Prayer over the Offerings:

Look with favor on the offerings of your Church as she calls on you, O Lord, and by the power of this sacrifice grant that, as you placed your servant Benedict as High Priest over your flock, so you may set him among the number of your chosen Priests in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer III offered in Latin:

Remember your servant Pope Emeritus Benedict, whom you have called from this world to yourself. Grant that he who was united with your Son in a death like his, may also be one with him in his Resurrection, when from the earth he will raise up in the flesh those who have died, and transform our lowly body after the pattern of his own glorious body.

To our departed brothers and sisters, too, and to all who were pleasing to you at their passing from this life, give kind admittance to your kingdom. There we hope to enjoy forever the fullness of your glory, when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

For seeing you, our God, as you are, we shall be like you for all the ages and praise you without end, through Christ our Lord, through whom you bestow on the world all that is good.

The Prayer after Communion will be prayed in Latin:

Let us pray. As we receive sacred sustenance from your charity, O Lord, we pray that your servant Benedict, who was a faithful steward of your mysteries on earth, may praise your mercy forever in the glory of the Saints. Through Christ our Lord.

After Communion there will be a Final Commendation and Farewell followed by a moment for silent prayer:

Dear brothers and sisters, in celebrating the sacred mysteries we have opened our minds and hearts to joy-filled hope; with confidence we now offer our final farewell to Pope Emeritus Benedict and commend him to God, our merciful and loving Father.

May the God of our fathers, through Jesus Christ, his only Son, in the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, deliver Pope Emeritus Benedict from death, that he may sing God’s praises in the heavenly Jerusalem in expectation of the resurrection of his mortal body on the last day.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles and Salus Populi Romani, intercede before the Eternal Father, that he may reveal the face of Jesus his Son to Pope Emeritus Benedict and console the Church on her pilgrimage through history as she awaits the Lord’s return.

After Pope Francis incenses the mortal remains of Benedict XVI, the pope will pray in Latin:

Gracious Father, we commend to your mercy Pope Emeritus Benedict whom you made Successor of Peter and shepherd of the Church, a fearless preacher of your word and a faithful minister of the divine mysteries.

Welcome him, we pray, into your heavenly dwelling place, to enjoy eternal glory with all your chosen ones. We give you thanks, Lord, for all the blessings that in your goodness you bestowed upon him for the good of your people.

Grant us the comfort of faith and the strength of hope.

To you Father, source of life, through Christ, the conqueror of death, in the life-giving Spirit, be all honor and glory forever and ever.

The choir and the congregation will sing the following Antiphons:

May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come and welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

May choirs of angels welcome you and with Lazarus, who is poor no longer may you have eternal rest.

As Benedict XVI’s coffin is carried to his place of burial in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica, the choir will sing the Magnificat in Latin.