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Monday, February 9, 2009

Showdown in Brisbane: archbishop removes pastor of rebel parish

This is a sad story. Please pray for  St. Mary's parish conversion.

February 09, 2009

A struggle between the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia, and a rebellious parish community has come to a head. Father Peter Kennedy, the pastor of St. Mary's parish in South Brisbane, revealed on Sunday that Archbishop John Bathersby has terminated his assignment there, effective February 21. But Father Kennedy has announced that he will not leave without a fight.

In a December 22 letter, made public this weekend, Archbishop Bathersby informed Father Kennedy that he would be relieved of his assignment, and the dean of the Brisbane cathedral, Father Ken Howell, would be made administrator of St. Mary's. The archbishop acknowledged that many parishioners at St. Mary's had already indicated their intention to break completely with the archdiocese, but said that if they followed Father Kennedy they would no longer be in communion with the universal Church.

In his letter the archbishop told the pastor: "At no stage did I ever want the present drama to be played out in the media. That was a decision that you made, probably with the approval of the community." He detailed his grave concerns about liturgical practices and unorthodox teaching at St. Mary's. "In the matter of faith," Archbishop Bathersby wrote, "it is frightening to hear that seven to nine hundred people attend the three liturgies at South Brisbane, yet there seems to be little instruction about Trinitarian theology." He observed that preachers and other members of the parish had "attacked the Church and Pope from the pulpit and attacked me, perhaps more gently, as Archbishop. Such attacks hardly indicate communion with the Church."

Father Kennedy responded to the latest development by telling reporters that he was prepared to resist the archbishop's authority, perhaps even risking arrest in a struggle to retain control of the parish. He also showed his contempt for the teaching authority of the Church, asking: "Can you possibly think any individual can believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary?" (Full story at Catholic Culture)

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