Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Brisbane's Catholic 'community in exile' walks out of church

After celebrating Mass for the last time at St. Mary’s parish in South Brisbane, Australia, on April 19, Father Peter Kennedy led 1,000 people from his congregation out of the church to their “Catholic community in exile” in a nearby union hall. The parish community-- which had been warned by Archbishop John Bathersby that it was imperiling its tie to the Catholic Church, continued its service in the new building. Father Kennedy promised the crowd that the new rebellious group would give greater roles to women-- who have already been invited to “concelebrate” the liturgy.
As a short backgrounder, Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby has terminated Father Peter Kennedy as administrator of St Mary's Church on Saturday 21st February 2009.

St Mary's has challenged traditional Catholic Church practices by changing rituals, allowing women to preach, and blessing gay couples.

The text of Archbishop Bathersby's letter is posted here, quoted partly:

"Peter, making these decisions gives me no satisfaction whatsoever. The separation of Christians is contrary to all that Christ prayed for. Nor does such division promote the Kingdom of God. You have had ample time to make a considered decision. Please God the division that exists at the present time will be healed in the future, probably not in my time. I ask the priests, deacons, religious and people of the Archdiocese of Brisbane to pray for me and for all who belong to the Archdiocese, especially the community of St Mary's in its present situation. In this matter I pray also that Mary the mother of Jesus will be our inspiration and guide as we seek her prayerful support for the healing of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, and St Mary’s Parish."

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