Rebel Australian parishioners risk excommunication, archbishop warns
November 03, 2008
In August Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, Australia warned the leaders of St. Mary's parish that they risked separating themselves from the Catholic Church by their unorthodox teaching and liturgical practices. Now in the second stern warning the archbishop has said that he will "begin a formal process to address the situation" if the parish does not respond to his concerns by December 1. The "formal process" could lead to excommunication.
In August, responding to the first warning, parish leaders promised that they would answer the points brought up in the archbishop's message-- which included having lay people deliver homilies and join priests on the altar for the Eucharistic prayer, using an invalid form of Baptism, and welcoming same-sex couples. But since that time the parish has continued to use the invalid baptismal formula and has sold booklets proclaiming that Jesus is not God: a direct contradiction of fundamental Christian doctrine. Archbishop Bathersby suggested that the record shows the parish is not making any effort to conform to Church doctrine and discipline, and that "games are still being played, as they were in the past."
The defiant pastor, Father Peter Kennedy, said that the St. Mary's would not change its practices. "Bullies never have enough of bullying, and the Vatican is a bully," he charged. The parish has set up a blog site, on which parishioners have joined in encouraging defiance of the archbishop's order.
- I'll excommunicate you: archbishop (The Australian)
- Brisbane church faces axe over liberal practices (ABC)
- St. Mary's Discussion Forum
- Australian archbishop warns: renegade parish may be shut down (CWN, Aug. 25)
- Brisbane parish promises response to archbishop's concerns (CWN, Aug. 26)
- Complaints mount about renegade Brisbane parish (CWN, Aug. 27)
- Brisbane archbishop asks prayers for wayward parish (CWN, Aug. 29)
- Rebel Australian parish defies archbishop with invalid baptisms
- Booklet sold at rebellious Brisbane parish denies Christ's divinity