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Gay protesters accuse Pell of homophobia

Angry gay rights activists hung nooses outside Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday and chanted for Archbishop George Pell to "go to hell" as he greeted Easter churchgoers.

Tight security barred the group of about 40 protesters from the Queer group from entering church grounds, but angry exchanges broke out as the congregation tried to leave the city's main Catholic Easter service.

Throughout much of the demonstration during which protesters hung rope nooses on the church fence, Dr Pell stood at the cathedral steps with his back to the rally as he greeted members of the congregation.

On two occasions, churchgoers tried to counter the noisy protest by calling for three cheers for the Archbishop, but they were quickly drowned out by chants such as "not the church, not the state, queers must decide their fate" and "George Pell, go to hell".

Dr Pell declined to the media on the issue.

Queer spokesman Jonathan Wilkinson demanded Dr Pell recognise that homosexuality was "real, legitimate and it is here to stay".

One female churchgoer leaving the service shouted at a protest organiser, "you should be ashamed of yourself".