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Pope Francis leads the final commendation during the funeral Mass for Cardinal George Pell in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in January 2023 (CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal George Pell had a broken nose, was not wearing shoes and his clothes had been “just thrown in” the coffin when his body was returned to Australia from Italy last year, it has been claimed. Source: 

Cardinal Pell died in Rome on January 10 last year, after going into cardiac arrest at the Salvator Mundi Hospital while recovering from a routine hip replacement operation hours earlier.

Following an autopsy, the 81-year-old’s body was repatriated to Australia where his funeral Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on February 1.

According to a report in The Australian on Tuesday detailing efforts to hunt down financial corruption in the Vatican, led by Cardinal Pell prior to his return to Australia in 2017 to face historical child sexual abuse allegations, “rumours had been swirling around the Vatican about Pell’s death and the state of his body post-autopsy”.

“His funeral was held in St Peter’s Basilica four days after his death, with Pope Francis presiding over the rite of final commendation and farewell,” the report said.

“The fact that the cardinal’s casket was closed and did not allow for the traditional farewell touch or kiss by mourners raised eyebrows among many at the Mass.”

Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt on Wednesday shared new alleged details after speaking with Cardinal Pell’s brother, David Pell.

“I don’t buy conspiracy theories about Pell’s death, but I do know about the state of his body after the Vatican sent it to Australia for burial,” he wrote.

“The body had been treated with gross disrespect. Perhaps it was incompetence, but some of Pell’s closest associates told me they suspect it could be a sign that some in the Vatican had not forgiven Pell for hunting down corruption.”

Cardinal Pell’s embalming had been “mucked up”, David Pell told Bolt, and the undertaker in Sydney had to clean the body.

“Pell’s nose was also broken,” Bolt wrote. “I’ll leave out some other details.”

He added that Pell was shoeless and his “clothes had been just thrown in the coffin”.

The Vatican press office was contacted for comment on the allegations.


‘Nose broken’: Claims Vatican treated Cardinal George Pell’s body with ‘gross disrespect’ (By Frank Chung,