Australian state premier rejects Pell state funeral

STORY: Pell, a leading Roman Catholic conservative and former top Vatican official who was acquitted in 2020 of child sexual abuse accusations, died on Tuesday (January 10) at the age of 81.

"No, there won't be a state memorial service. I couldn't think of anything that would be more distressing for victim-survivors than that," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

An Australian appeals court ruling in 2020 quashed convictions that Pell sexually assaulted two choir boys in the 1990s. It allowed Pell to walk free after 13 months in prison, ending the case of the most senior figure accused in the global scandal of historical sex abuse that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.

Even before the sexual assault accusations, Pell was a polarizing figure in the two decades that he dominated the Australian Catholic hierarchy, revered by conservative Catholics but scorned by liberals for his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage and women's ordination.