Down to the Wire: Just $6,477 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

first response

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 01, 2009

 Is Father Peter Kennedy a Catholic? Good question.

He claims to be, and that counts for something. He was ordained as a Catholic priest of the Brisbane, Australia archdiocese; that's an important bit of evidence. Yet during his term as pastor of St. Mary's parish in South Brisbane, he didn't administer Catholic sacraments (he used an invalid formula for baptism); he didn't preach Catholic doctrine (he ridiculed Church teaching on the Resurrection); and he didn't follow Catholic liturgical norms (he invited women to the altar to "concelebrate" with him). Last August, Archbishop John Bathersby finally decided that he'd had enough, complaining that the flaky community at St. Mary's had in effect "established its own brand of religion." If the parish did not return to some semblance of normalcy, the archbishop warned, it would imperil its continued communion with the Catholic Church.

A breach of communion: got that? Australian reporters suspected, quite reasonably, that Archbishop Bathersby was hinting at the possibility of excommunication. 

That was in August 2008. The months passed, and religious anomalies at St. Mary's continued, until finally in April 2009 the archbishop removed Father Kennedy from his office as pastor. Whereupon the wayward priest, far from repenting, established his own independent church to compete with the parish still operating under the aegis of the Brisbane archdiocese. Kennedy says his new operation a Catholic church. The archbishop says it isn't. If he's running a church, and it's not the Catholic Church, you might say he's engaged in a schismatic enterprise. The ordinary canonical penalty for schism is excommunication. That word again.

Now at last comes the news that the Brisbane archdiocese is considering disciplinary measures against Father Kennedy. Already removed from his parish, he may now be suspended from ministry. But reporters aren't terribly excited about a suspension. They're more interested in the E-word. The chancellor of the archdiocese, Father Adrian Farrelly, wishes they would calm down. "We certainly don't leap to excommunication as a first response," he says

No, certainly not a first response. But the first response came 5 years ago, when Archbishop Bathersby ordered Father Kennedy to stop using the invalid baptismal formula. How about a second response? Or a third?

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($56,145 to go):
$150,000.00 $93,855.13
37% 63%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy 13 hours ago
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25