Red Mass for judges, lawyers defended amid protests at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

January 29, 2020

By Paul Kennedy

A leading lawyer has defended the Catholic Church’s right to hold a traditional mass for judges and lawyers in Melbourne, despite protesters saying it should be scrapped.

The Archdiocese of Melbourne hosted its annual “Red Mass” this week after the Victorian Bar Association promoted the event.

It was well attended by senior judges wearing their robes and wigs.

After the service and blessings, the judiciary, members of the legal profession, staff and their families were invited to join Archbishop Peter Comensoli to stay for morning tea in the presbytery.

Child sexual abuse survivors’ advocate Chrissie Foster was among a group of people involved in a silent protest outside.

She was holding sign that read “crime scene”, in reference to the venue, St Patrick’s Cathedral, where convicted Cardinal George Pell abused two choirboys in 1996.

Cardinal Pell is appealing against his conviction in the High Court.

Ms Foster had previously asked legal professionals to think about staying away.

“What is the purpose of the Red Mass get-together with the judiciary? Why is it necessary?” she wrote in The Australian.

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