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Australian priest denies Bl. Mary MacKillop was excommunicated for reporting abuse

Catholic World News - October 06, 2010

An Australian priest has sharply criticized the country’s ABC television network for citing him as the source of a report that Blessed Mary MacKillop, who will be canonized later this month, was once excommunicated because she reported a priest for sexual abuse.

“I never said it; it’s just false,” said Father Paul Gardiner, who has been a leading voice for the canonization of Australian’s first native saint. He suggested that the “Compass” program in which the excommunication claim appears was twisted by the desires of people who were “anxious to see something negative about the Catholic Church.”

A producer for “Compass” denied that the show reported that Mary MacKillop was excommunicated for reporting sexual abuse—although reports on the show universally gave it that interpretation.

Blessed Mary MacKillop did come into conflict with the Adelaide diocese when she reported abuse by a local priest. Later she was excommunicated for rejecting an order from the diocese. The bishop who approved that excommunication soon lifted the sanction, and a Church inquiry later found that she had been unjustly punished.

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