sabato 24 febbraio 2018

Catholic Church spends up big on George Pell’s ‘elaborate crypt’
The Weekend Australian
(Brad Norington) The Catholic Church has spent tens of thousands of dollars building George Pell an “elaborate mausoleum” in the underground crypt below Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral.
Recently completed by ­Melocco Brothers, a Sydney-based company of stone artisans, the mausoleum is intended as the final resting place for Cardinal Pell, honouring him and his ­contribution to the church in Australia. Confirmation that the Sydney Archdiocese has prepared a burial spot for the 76-year-old cardinal upon his eventual death comes as he faces multiple historical sex charges.

Cardinal Pell has denied all the allegations, and is working with defence lawyers after returning to Australia from Rome for a committal hearing set to start next month in Melbourne.
The Weekend Australian understands that Peter Melocco, whose grandfather built the original St Mary’s crypt with its detailed terrazzo floor and marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta, encountered some difficulties during the early construction phase of his company’s recent commission.
As well as delays caused by water damage in the cathedral basement that required repair work, Mr Melocco’s firm needed to wait for national park approvals so stone from an old quarry could be accessed and matched with ­existing material in the crypt.
Melocco Brothers has constructed many of the marble interiors of Sydney’s grander buildings dating back to the 1930s.
It also specialises in highly ­detailed terrazzo floors that are a key feature of the mausoleum for Cardinal Pell and for others in older parts of the crypt.
The underground crypt below the neo-Gothic 19th-century cath­edral is the burial place for three pioneer priests and all past archbishops of the Sydney Catholic archdiocese.
The crypt’s largest, most elaborate stand-alone mausoleum historically is on the right side of the sandstone and marble basement area of St Mary’s for archbishop Michael Kelly.
Kelly supervised extensions of the cathedral in the late 1920s, ahead of Melocco Brothers’ construction of the crypt floor in the late 1940s under cardinal Norman Gilroy.
While the marble and terrazzo floor work appears completed near the spot marked for Cardinal Pell, it is understood a further part of terrazzo that would name the cardinal, possibly with extra inscriptions and artwork, is still to be laid in place. Sources say this final part of an “elaborate mausoleum” is not likely to be seen publicly until after the cardinal’s eventual burial.
Cardinal Pell was born in Ballarat, and served as a priest in Melbourne and in regional Victoria between studies in Rome and Oxford.
He was appointed archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 before moving to Sydney in 2001 as its eighth Catholic archbishop.
Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral crypt has been identified by the Sydney Archdiocese, now led by Archbishop Anthony Fisher, as the place for his burial one day in keeping with the tradition for all past incumbents.
It was also with St Mary’s that Cardinal Pell was last associated as archbishop (2001-14) and where he was appointed cardinal in 2003 before departing Australia in 2014 for a position in the Vatican as inaugural Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.
The proposed St Mary’s mausoleum for Cardinal Pell was funded in large part with ­contributions from the church-owned NSW Catholic Cemeteries Board, which is responsible for a number of ­Sydney’s public cemeteries, including Australia’s largest, Rookwood, in the city’s west.
It is understood extra funding was provided when an initial allocation was not enough to finance the project.
Buried in St Mary’s crypt are Sydney archbishops John Bede Polding, Kelly and Roger Vaughan and cardinals Patrick Moran, Gilroy, James Freeman and ­Edward Clancy.
When a cardinal or archbishop of Sydney dies, funeral rites can extend over several days. The serving archbishop presides at a requiem mass with a cardinal’s coffin placed on a stand in the cathedral’s sanctuary near the main altar.
Mourners are welcome to pay their respects, pray and sign a book of condolence. At past such funerals, the congregations have filled the cathedral and spilt into the open area behind it.
The Weekend Australian asked the Sydney Archdiocese to confirm the cost of the work for Cardinal Pell’s mausoleum, the source of funding and other ­details of interest involving Melocco artisan work.
A spokeswoman said no work had been done in the crypt “specific to Cardinal Pell” and further burial details about him were premature.
She confirmed that after the death of Cardinal Clancy in 2014, and his burial in one of the remaining two double and two single crypt sites, Melocco Brothers was commissioned to lay down a marble stone cover — replacing timber — and do work for the remaining crypt sites.
The Catholic Archdiocese in Sydney is considered the “mother diocese of Australia”.
It describes St Mary’s Cathedral as a “heritage that belongs to all Australians regardless of faith”, and “a source of national pride, and among our greatest ­architectural achievements”.

The Weekend Australian