The Australian comedian’s song, which refers to child abuses cases in the Catholic Church, has gone viral online.

Comedian and award-winning songwriter, Tim Minchin, has brought worldwide attention to the ongoing investigations by a Royal Commission into cases of alleged child abuse within the Catholic Church, with a song titled Come Home (Cardinal Pell). Featuring his characteristic blend of razor-edged lyrics and earworm-worthy melodies, the song has become an instant online hit.

The composer of the hit musical Matilda released the song earlier this week to draw attention to the reluctance of the powerful Australian church leader, Cardinal George Pell, to return home from Rome. Pell is due to face the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Abuse but is yet to testify due to ill health.

Pell was educated in the Victorian town of Ballarat, and at one point lived with Gerry Ridsdale, described on Minchin’s website as “one of the most prolific (and allegedly protected) paedophiles in Australian history.” Pell is accused of having been aware of sexual assaults on children, and of covering up the alleged abuse.

Minchin’s song, which was first performed on Channel Ten’s The Project on Tuesday night and calls Cardinal Pell “scum” and “a coward”, has gone viral online, receiving over 420,000 views in just two days. Minchin is using the immense popularity of the song to raise money for the Ballarat Survivors Fund, which aims to send a group of 15 victims of historical child abuse cases in Ballarat to Rome to hear evidence given by Cardinal Pell in person.

The funding campaign, which had a target of $55,000, has smashed its goal, receiving donations exceeding $176,000 in just two days. Radio journalist Meshel Laurie, who has organised the funding campaign in partnership with Gorgi Coghlan from The Project, has pledged to use the excess funds to found a Survivors’ Support Centre for victims of child abuse.

Pell, who is also the Vatican’s chief financial adviser, was due to give evidence in person before the Commission in December. However, since being declared unfit to travel by his doctor, the chair of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, has ruled that Pell may give evidence via a video link from Rome.

Pell issued a strongly-worded statement this morning in response to the campaign to bring him back to Australia to testify, saying he considered himself an ally of abuse victims and would welcome the opportunity to meet with them. “The Cardinal is anxious to present the facts without further delays,” a statement from Pell’s office said. “Cardinal Pell has always helped victims… As an archbishop for almost 20 years, he has led from the front to put an end to cover-ups, to protect vulnerable people and to try to bring justice to victims.”

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