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Australian bishop condemns priest's book

November 11, 2008

Bishop Patrick Dougherty of Bathurst, Australia, has issued a statement denouncing a book written by a priest of his diocese. Bishop Patrick Dougherty said that in a book by Father Peter Dresser, "some foundational truths of our Christian Catholic faith were not affirmed: readers could rightly conclude that some were denied and that the views expressed about them were heretical." The bishop acknowledged that Father Dresser had reaffirmed his belief in fundamental Church teachings on matters such as the divinity of Christ, which he had seemed plainly to deny in his book. Nevertheless the bishop said: "The watering down or emptying out fo Christian teaching is not the path towards rendering Catholic doctrine more deeply known by people of faith or acceptable to skeptical people."

Father Dresser's book, God is Big. Real Big!, has not been formally published but drew widespread attention when it was distributed at St. Mary's parish in South Brisbane. The leadership of that parish had already been under fire for doctrinal and disciplinary novelties; Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby has warned that the parish has "established its own brand of religion," which may not be classifiable as Catholic.

Bishop Dougherty-- whose resignation was announced, coincidentally, on the day after his public statement-- said that regardless of Father Dresser's intentions, "stances taken in this book with regard to Jesus Christ and Mary are not acceptable."


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