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Controversial Australian priest regrets promise to retire

July 05, 2011

An outspoken Australian priest is threatening to renege on a promise to retire at the age of 77, saying that he was under pressure when he made a promise to step down.

Father Bob Maguire, who successfully resisted a call for his resignation when he turned 75, has pledged to retire as pastor in Melbourne in February 2012. But he now says that he wants to remain in his parish assignment. “Why would you go to the trouble of breaking up the relationship when in fact everybody seems to be agreeing that it’s a bloody good thing?” he asks.

While Father Maguire is undoubtedly popular—he was named “Victorian of the Year” for his community work—not “everybody” is pleased with his pastoral style. He has frequently raised eyebrows with public actions—such as “hearing confessions” on a radio call-in show—and statements—such as saying that the celebration of the life of the deceased is “all we’ve got” during a funeral service.


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