Claims of mishandling Cardinal Pell’s body emerge

Pell's body

Claims have emerged that Cardinal George Pell’s body was mishandled after his death, with a broken nose and improper dressing when repatriated to Australia from Rome.

Cardinal Pell, aged 81, died in January 2023 in Rome after a cardiac arrest following a routine hip replacement operation. His funeral was held four days later at St Peter’s Basilica.

The funeral was notable for the absence of a traditional open casket, which reportedly surprised Vatican officials.

Recent reports in The Australian suggest that Pell’s body was left in disarray after an autopsy, with his clothes haphazardly placed in the coffin, his body not properly dressed and without shoes.

Final insult

Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt, citing a conversation with Pell’s brother, revealed that the cardinal’s nose was broken upon the body’s return to Australia, describing it as a “final insult”.

Bolt speculated that the mistreatment might have stemmed from either incompetence or lingering animosity within the Vatican.

“Pell once told me he did not feel safe in the Vatican as he chased the crooks” Bolt stated. “What was done to his body makes me suspect he was right.”

Pell a ‘ticking time bomb’

However Pell’s brother David told The Australian that the family has no issue with George Pell’s medical treatment in Rome.

David Pell said George Pell had several serious heart conditions that dated back to the 1990s. He described the cardinal as a “ticking time bomb”.

David Pell explained the condition of George Pell’s body, saying that he was vested but in an incorrect sequence.

He suggested the Cardinal’s nose could have been broken by the lid of his tight fitting coffin which was lined with zinc or, as one medico suggested, that the Cardinal’s nose could have been damaged by hospital tubes while nursing staff were trying to revive him.

David Pell said that there was no room for the Cardinal’s size 14 shoes to be put on him, but that they were in the coffin.

He said the family decided the coffin not be open at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney because the embalming “was not up to scratch” and by the time of the Sydney funeral his brother would have been dead for three weeks.

David Pell told the Australian that, while a number of his brother’s friends urged him to return to Australia for his hip replacement, the family had no say.

“The big boy made up his mind” he said,


Daily Mail

The Australian

Herald Sun

The Australian

CathNews New Zealand


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News category: World.

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