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Cardinal George PellPatrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

VATICAN CITY, April 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Mother Angelica’s “withering attack” on dissenting leaders in the Catholic Church in 1993 may have been “massively imprudent,” but it was “a great witness to the Christ that we follow,” says Australian Cardinal George Pell.

“Thank God she spoke that way,” Pell said. “When I read it, I remember thinking ‘yes, she’s right.’”

The EWTN foundress’ famous monologue on her show was provoked by organizers’ decision at World Youth Day Denver in 1993 to cast a woman as Christ in the Way of the Cross.

The cardinal was speaking at a memorial Mass in Rome on April 1 for the Poor Clare nun, who died Easter Sunday aged 92. His remarks were first reported by the National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin.

“This para-liturgical abuse provoked her to unleash the pent-up frustrations of many years. It was powerful and eloquent, something of a diatribe, certainly over-the-top in some ways,” Pell, the Vatican’s prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, said.

“It wasn’t discreet – in fact it was massively imprudent. But it was great copy for the journalists, and a great witness to the Christ that we follow.”

“She slowed down the drift toward destruction, turned away many from damaging themselves,” noted Pell, relating that an Australian activist recently told him in a letter that Mother Angelica’s critique had changed his life.

The packed memorial Mass at St. Anne’s in the Vatican was celebrated at the same time as Mother Angelica's funeral Mass in Hanceville, Alabama.

WATCH: Mother Angelica’s chilling message to the ‘liberals’ in the Catholic Church

“Mother Angelica was conservative, direct, and in fact somewhat divisive,” observed Pell. “She spoke truth to authority, as strong women have ever done to their families, their priests and bishops, and sometimes to the public; just think of Catherine of Siena.”

“She didn’t found another church, and while she spoke bluntly to a number of the Church’s officials, she recognized the office of Pope and bishops and priests.”

The Australian cardinal related that Mother Angelica was raised by her mother, who suffered from depression, after her father abandoned the family when she was five, and that she did not do well at school.

“Her life story brings a message of encouragement for all those who were or are children from broken homes,” said Pell. “Some, perhaps many, from such backgrounds are tempted to be resentful, short of self-confidence, uncertain of their ability to contribute or build a good family.”

“Mother Angelica is one more example of what can be achieved from difficult beginnings. She knew what it was to struggle. She wasn’t a ‘milk and water’ character, but a triumph of God’s grace through, and perhaps despite, her nature. She truly cast fire upon the earth.”

“We thank God for her message, her courage and her faith,” Pell concluded, “And we pray that the Church in the United States will throw up other giants equally unexpectedly to help strengthen our faith and lead us to Christ.”

Read the full homily at the National Catholic Register here.


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