‘Petty’: ribbons for abuse victims removed from Sydney church hosting Pell funeral

Pell Funeral Loud Fence

: ‘Petty’: ribbons for abuse victims removed from Sydney church hosting Pell funeral
Authors: Christopher Knaus & Caitlin Cassidy
Publisher: The Guardian
Date: 18JAN2023

Ribbons tied on the fence of St Mary’s Cathedral in support of victims of clergy abuse are being removed ahead of a planned requiem mass in Sydney for Cardinal George Pell.

Coloured ribbons have been placed outside St Mary’s in recent days by campaigners who want to give voice to abuse victims and survivors ahead of Pell’s mass and burial on 2 February.

They have been tied along entire sections of the cathedral’s fence, pictures and video on social media showed.

But the ribbons are being periodically removed. Guardian Australia saw just one when it visited St Mary’s on Wednesday.

The removal prompted critics to say the church’s response was “petty”.

When Jenny arrived at St Mary’s Cathedral on Wednesday morning she spotted a solitary red ribbon. Undeterred, Jenny – who did not want her surname published – set to work tying a string of silver ribbons onto the cathedral’s fence.

“The way the Catholic church has treated these individuals is appalling,” she said.

“It’s not just George Pell. It’s the whole church and the whole industry of the Catholic church. If they believed in God they wouldn’t do and say the things they do. I wish there was a security camera so I could give them the finger.”

Loud Fence, the group which first advocated placing ribbons at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Ballarat, described the removals at St Mary’s as the “same old business” from the church. It said the church was protecting its brand at the expense of abuse victims.

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