Brisbane: priest of invalid baptisms clashes with man with phone

You know about the hijinx in Brisbane’s St. Mary’s Church over the persistent use of invalid baptismal forms despite the instruction of the CDF and local Archbishop.

Recently we had an entry on this here.

This is from CathNews.

St Mary’s South Brisbane churchgoer, Richard Stokes, has asked police to press charges against parish priest Fr Peter Kennedy after a mobile phone camera was knocked from his hand at a baptism yesterday.

Mr Stokes has written to the Vatican and to Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby in a campaign to have St Mary’s and Fr Kennedy, follow official protocols or be removed from the church, The Australian reports.

Yesterday, after travelling 40 minutes from his home in Caboolture to attend Sunday Mass at St Mary’s, Mr Stokes stayed behind to watch some baptisms, which have brought the church into controversy on previous occasions.  [Obviously the fellow was hunting up more dirt on the priest.]

Incensed that a priest was performing baptisms in casual clothes, and not his vestments, Mr Stokes positioned himself to take a photo on his mobile phone, whereupon Fr Kennedy allegedly knocked the phone from his hand, The Australian says.

Fr Kennedy, who was not performing the baptisms but has had previous encounters with Mr Stokes, would not comment on the incident yesterday.

Mr Stokes, who was not hurt and put his phone back together, said: "I saw a blur out of the corner of my eye and then bang, the mobile phone was knocked out of my hand and on to the ground," Mr Stokes said.

"It all happened so quickly."

Fr Kennedy’s supporters say Mr Stokes was being deliberately provocative [well… that’s sound like it is indeed the case…] and ignored pleas by parishioners and the children’s families not to cause trouble.

After being hustled out of the church, and admonished by parishioners, Mr Stokes and his supporters went to a nearby police station where they made an assault complaint and asked that charges be laid.


Parish row leads to police report (The Australian, 13/10/08)


St Mary’s parish, South Brisbane


Brisbane church’s controversial baptism (CathNews, 6/10/08)


A couple things must be said here.

First, something like this happens because the parish hasn’t been definitively put in order.  Until that happens, this sort of thing is likely to occur again.

Baptisms are not "secret" events, but they aren’t exactly public either.  They are, … but they are not. 

I don’t know how things are in Australia, but in my native place, it is illegal to disturb a religious service.

Sometimes people suggest to me that there should be individuals or even teams who go around to places and record liturgical abuses in such a way that the recordings and accounts can be proofs useful to the CDF or CDW.

I am of two minds about that. 

First, if a parish/priest is doing what is required, there is no reason to worry about recordings, etc.  Of course there are aberrations from time to time, but if they are not representative of what goes on in a place, that is not a problem.

The biggest problems in my mind come from the fact that not everyone who thinks he knows what ought to be done really knows very much at all.  Also, if a person is going into a church with a malicious or a "gotchya" attitude… well… that’s a problem.

It is hard to know what to do, however, in the face of persistent abuses or even invalid sacraments, which are not being corrected despite repeated reoprts and requests of the faithful.  The faithful too have both the right to sound worship and valid sacraments and they have the responsibility to make problems known.

6. Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters

[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.

[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.


"… in truth and charity…"

First, work up the ladder if you can.

Second, do what you do in truth and charity.

Third, consult a sound spiritual director before you undertake anything like this.  Don’t fool yourself that in your zeal you are actually acting in charity.  Do not fall into self-righteousness.

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  1. Andy Lucy says:

    It sounds as though the question is as to the intent of the gentleman with the phone.

    Had Mr Stokes gone to Mass, and then stayed to watch the baptism because he wanted to see the baptism, and THEN had been so outraged at rampant liturgical abuses that he felt compelled to record them… I can understand that. To my mind, he would conceivably have been justified in taking a photo to show to competent ecclesiastical authority, provided he could have done so without causing a distraction and disturbing those who were gathered for the sacrament.

    But for him to go into the church, apparently with the intent of finding something wrong… that is not a tack that I can, in my own mind, justify. Mr Stokes was looking for trouble, and voila… he found it. And, not to mention the fact that he was not apparently motivated by Christian charity in so doing, coupled with his apparent intent to cause a scene… I don\’t have much for Mr Stokes motivations, from neither a legal nor a Christian perspective.

    Fr Kennedy, however, does not appear justified in assaulting Mr Stokes regardless of the provocation offered in this situation. There was no threat to Fr Kennedy\’s person, no threat of violence to anyone present (from the related materials). Asking him to remove himself from the property would have been the most logical step. Were he to have remained, the police could have been called, and a trespass complaint taken.
    Given Father Kennedy\’s reaction… I have to wonder two things. First, was Fr Kennedy familiar with Mr Stokes and his intent from prior encounters. Secondly, how much heat is St Mary\’s receiving from higher with regard to their liturgical abuses? A familiarity with Mr Stokes and unwanted intervention from diocesan authorities could account for F Kennedy\’s egregious slip on judgment. Just wondering.

  2. David2 says:

    To answer Fr Z’s question, in most Australian states there are laws against sacrelege and disruption of religious worship.

    One real problem here is that this sort of thing has been going on unchecked for years, to the extent that the local Ordinary has said that the parish is in effect, not in communion with the Church:

    This has to rise to the level of grave public scandal. A few years ago, when our bishops were abusing the third rite or reconciliation, lay people attended chuch with questionairres, and then prepared affidavits based upon what they had seen. The Aussie biships were then given a good telling off by John Paul II at their next ad limina visit… I suppose this is a similar situation.

    Many people are, in effect, tearing their hair out because the Brisbane chancery seems unwilling or unable to correct the situation. Archbishop Bathersby seems to be forever asking these people to toe the line, and they are simply refusing to do so.

    I can, therefore sympathize with the frustration of Mr Stokes and others, who are, in effect, having dreadful abuses and indeed, heresies thrust in their faces week in, week out, for the best part of a decade.

    This is very public defiance of ecclesiastical authority (indeed, one of the priests is AWOL from a neighbouring diocese without permission from either Ordinary). It needs to be fixed.

  3. Scott says:

    This is unfortunate. At this point, I think everyone who needs to know already knows what is happening at St. Mary’s. Now, if we want to help, we need to focus on praying.

    And I’ll add that, after receiving a warm email from the Archbishop after my own baptism video, I’m convinced that his excellency is working hard to do the good in his diocese. He does need our prayers however.


  4. PMcGrath says:

    I’m with Mr. Stokes on this one.

    For the leadership of that Brisbane parish, any Catholic trying to exercise their duties under paragraphs 183 and 184 cited above is inherently uncharitable.

    Why did the priest allegedly knock the camera out of the hands of Mr. Stokes? Because he was trying to keep his intentional liturgical abuse HIDDEN and UNDOCUMENTED from the proper authorities.

    In order to present the truth, it has to be documented. Otherwise it’s just hearsay.

    Perhaps someone else should be doing the documenting the next time, but … it has to be recorded.

  5. TJM says:

    Sounds like it’s time for proper Church authorities to step in and shut down “Father” Kennedy’s sham operation. If Father Kennedy is so proud of what he is doing he should invite the Archbishop in to view one of these “baptisms.” Sounds to me, like Father Kennedy knows what he’s doing is very wrong, but like a child, wants to keep on doing what he’s doing and is mad when a grown-up catches him in the act. Tom

  6. David2 says:


    Granted, I’ve discussed this with a few priests in a position to know what is going on, and they say that Archbishop Bathersby is trying his best to sort this out. I also understand that you are an American visiting down under, so let me extend a warm welcome.

    His Grace Archbishop Bathersby was one of the (ahem) more “lax” when it came to the mis-use of the thrid rite of reconciliation about a decade ago:

    and I understand he was quite critical of lay-people going direct to Rome with complaints about abuses in his diocese.

    I must confess some real difficulty in understanding why it is taking so long to restore some discipline in Brisbane. The Australian joirnal AD2000 has been reporting other instances of liturgical abuse (such as omission of the gloria and second reading on Sundays, use of an heretical politicized “Australian Creed”, and tendancies to wicca in some female religious institutes) that have been reported to His Grace and his Assistant Bishop, repeatedly, with no apparrent result.

    There is a long history of irregularites in the dioceses of Queensland, and a great deal of frustration amongst those who are Orthodox.

    It is, shall we say, very disappointing that this situation has been allowed to fester for so long.

  7. Marty says:

    Poor old Brisbane.
    Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

  8. terra says:

    I’m also with Mr Stokes.

    It is notable that the Cath News report, which Fr Z quotes, omits all the balancing paragraphs from the original media report.

    In particular, the article implies that Mr Stokes went out of his way to go to this Church, impliedly just to cause trouble. In fact, as he explained in an article in Stones will Shout, back in July, there are very few masses available on Brisbane’s northside where he lives, St Mary’s is essentially the only option for him on many days of the week ( So he surely has a right to expect the authorities act to ensure that its claim to be catholic is actually real, and do what he can to make sure that happens.

    The kind of abuses that continue to be perpetrated in this Brisbane parish are not minor. Nor is a question of giving the bishop time to act – he has known about the situation for years, and even when pushed by Rome seems unwilling still to actually do anything. This is not about the whinges of traddies who can’t stand a bit of novus ordoism – rather they go to the core of our faith and practice.

    This is the parish that had a statue of buddha placed in front of the tabernacle for several weeks. Where everyone says the made-up eucharistic prayers. Everyone is invited to pour water on the head of the recipient of a mock baptism. Where vestments seem to be unknown. Where a priest from another diocese has been resident for several years without permission.

    The consequences of St Mary’s ongoing disobedience are immense – to the people who attend, to those who miss out on a valid sacrament, and to the mystical body of the Church at large.

    We need more people like Mr Stokes, willing to fight for holiness in the Church.

    And we certainly don’t need priests who are willing to resort to physical violence and intimidation to conceal their sins. Such behaviour reflects the same attitude that enabled child sexual abuse to be covered up for so long. The Church can’t afford not to act here.

  9. David2 says:

    That’s exactly right, Terra. It’s a sad state of affairs when the secular press is more Catholic and balanced than Cath News.

    I cannot for the life of me fathom what is causing this interminable delay. It’s all “soap and caresses” for the these neo-pagans for nearly a decade now…it’s time, to paraphrase St Pius X, to bring out the fists. Usquequo peccatores Domine usquequo peccatores gloriabuntur!?

  10. Aussie Paul says:

    In view of Fr Z’s “two minds” comment and other comments above, I think that it is worth posting an excerpt directly from my interview on Australian radio 10 years ago which has been linked to by David2.

    The result of the intervention of the Australian Catholics Advocacy Centre and the couragous work of many hundreds of Catholic laymen in the late 90’s (formally criticized in an official statement by the Aust Bishops Conference) was that the illicit (and possibly invalid) use of the “3rd Rite” went from a common occurrence every Lent and Advent in almost every diocese in the country to which every bishop concerned had turned a blind eye or even participated themselves, to a mere trickle of occurences in a few dioceses over the last decade, mostly rogue dioceses led by dissobedient bishops.

    It was only because the lay action taken was just, charitable, in accordance with Church discipline and Canon Law and the principle of subsidiarity, and accurate, that the wonderful then Prefect of the CDW&DS, Cardinal Medina was able to take such decisive action and also to convince the then Card. Ratzinger and JPII to support him to discipline (should I say persuade) the Aust bishops to do their jobs. They did it, but grumbled, and attacked the good name of the loyal laymen who had the courage to exercise their canonical rights.

    To my knowledge, nothing like this has happened in any other nation where the 3rd Rite still flourishes.


    “And now to the Catholic Advocacy Centre itself. Paul Brazier is a Catholic layman and lawyer who established the Centre in 1993. He spoke to me yesterday afternoon from our Brisbane studios after flying in from Mackay. We began with the foundation of the Centre.

    Paul Brazier: John, the Australian Catholics Advocacy Centre was set up in 1993 to assist members of the Catholic church, whether they be lay people or clergy, to make their needs and their concerns known to the sacred pastors of the church and also on those occasions when people’s rights within the church have been violated, to be able to vindicate those before the proper ecclesiastical forum. The words I’ve used in fact come from the Code of Canon Law which was promulgated in 1983 by John Paul II. I mean we’re not a group, an organisation with members, this is a service organisation very similar I suppose in some ways to a legal aid group in civil society. We have expertise, which we offer both legal, particularly in the sense of Canon Law, and we have consultants, theologians, Canon lawyers and others who assist us in complicated matters to help people. What we want to do though of course first is try to mediate people’s problems. They come to us, they think they’ve got a problem, we work if they really do have a problem. If they do, we try and help them mediate that first with perhaps their priest or the local bishop and if that breaks down well then it may well be that we need to take a more formal approach to help them vindicate their rights.

    John Cleary: Did you make representations to Rome?

    Paul Brazier: Well I’d answer that question in this way: The Australian Catholics Advocacy Centre takes people’s concerns and needs, and deals with them in the way that the church requires. That is, it respects the principle of subsidiarity, that is, if you can deal with a thing at the lowest level, then you should do that. And that’s a matter of justice and charity. And so if there’s a problem with a priest, then you deal with it at that area. If the thing’s closed off at that level, then you take it to the local bishop. It is possible then, if one feels as though the matter’s not being dealt with fairly justly, equitably, in accordance with the church law, at the episcopal level here, then it’s the right of any Catholic then to use the procedures of the church’s law to take the matter further to the relevant congregations in Rome, for instance, who started life, many of those congregations started life as quasi-judicial bodies that helped determine disputes and problems in the universal church. And so that is an ordinary sort of process. I think the problem in the past has been that people didn’t really know how to go about that, and to go about it in a proper and just way. They didn’t have the legal skills, they didn’t have the ecclesiastical know-how, and what we’ve tried to do is fill that gap, that vacuum, and provide people with the resources to do that. But always in a way which respects the dignity and the authority of the local bishop, and those people who they’re making perhaps a complaint about or some issue.

    John Cleary: The short answer then is yes, you did make representations to Rome about the issues that would be of concern to the Synod of Oceania, and about the state of the church.

    Paul Brazier: Well you know, in any situation where a person who’s a legal professional is making representations for clients, it’s really not a prudent matter to discuss in any particular detail those representations. It wouldn’t be proper.

    John Cleary: How do you assess a priest in a parish?

    Paul Brazier: Well we don’t assess priests, we don’t assess people, nor do we make judgements about people. We don’t make judgements about priests or their congregations whatsoever. What I’ve made it very plain that we do is it’s sometimes necessary to assemble evidence when there appears to be a determined effort by some in the church to continue to disobey the church’s teaching and discipline.

    John Cleary: Then how do you gather that evidence?

    Paul Brazier: Well it’s fairly direct and simple, and that is the persons who give information and evidence of our centre are the very persons who’ve made the complaints in the first place. What they do is they attend in good faith and we receive from those persons, information when and where they find that indeed although they’ve attended in good faith, the priest himself has not acted properly, he’s in fact celebrated the sacrament illicitly and sometimes invalidly, and they will record what’s happened, and by that I mean on a short note, in fact we make it easier for them if we can anticipate the sorts of disobedience that go on, by giving them a form that they can check quite easily without having any great theological or liturgical knowledge.

    John Cleary: So they have a pro forma on which to approach this?

    Paul Brazier: That’s right, yes. And the idea is that if something goes wrong, and they see the things happening that they know, and in fact the priest himself is likely to know, I mean let’s be frank about it, no-one’s under any illusions that the use of general absolution in diocese in Australia is completely illicit. But the people who go there are going in good faith, they’re not spying, they’re attending public ceremonies open to all people, and when they find though that the priest has let them down, they make a careful note. Now it’s been suggested that this somehow is secret police work, that it’s spying. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Think of it this way, John: if people are to make an allegation that a priest has done something wrong, and let’s be clear about it, to interfere with the sacraments, to celebrate them illicitly and even sometimes to simulate the sacraments by celebrating them in such a way that they appear to be celebrated, and they’re not being celebrated at all, that’s a very serious allegation, and it would ill behove somebody to make an inaccurate report of that. And so as anyone who’s responsible ought to, they make a contemporaneous note so they can be just and fair in the report they make, which will be eventually supplied to their bishop in the form of a statutory declaration made under oath. Now if people are going to make statements under oath, they need to be perfectly accurate about what they’re saying.

    John Cleary: Do they offer their names and the purpose of their attendance to the priest or other members of the parish when they set about this activity?

    Paul Brazier: How possibly could they do that? How could one imagine them standing up in front of the congregation and saying, ‘We’re watching’, or ‘Look out’, or something.

    John Cleary: Well that’s in fact what they’re doing, isn’t it?

    Paul Brazier: No, they’re not.

    John Cleary: They’re taking a form into the church, they’re taking notes about when somebody does something that’s inappropriate according to the form, or according to their interpretation of the form.

    Paul Brazier: No, what they’re doing is this: they’re not taking clipboards and torches in and standing up and making a nuisance themselves. They’re celebrating the sacrament themselves, primarily.

    John Cleary: But they are taking clipboards in, aren’t they?

    Paul Brazier: They’re not taking clipboards in at all John, what they’re taking in is a small piece of A5 paper that is not bandied about. They make a private note. See the funny thing about it is that there are some priests who think this is objectionable.

    John Cleary: It may be argued by those priests that a private note is worse than a public note.

    Paul Brazier: Well it’s not worse. You see what the problem about all this is that we’re getting locked into the trappings around the outside rather than into the substance.

    John Cleary: I’m not arguing that point, the point I’m trying to address is the methodology, not the principle. One may agree that the principle is absolutely right.

    Paul Brazier: The methodology is quite appropriate, and the reason why it is, as I’ve explained, is that these persons need to make a contemporaneous and accurate note of what happens. They do not do it in a way in which they disturb people. In fact the hundreds and hundreds of people who have done this right throughout Australia, I know of only two cases where it appears the priest has even noticed, and one priest was silly enough to make a great big fuss about it and cause a performance, and in fact disturb his own ceremony, and I think the reason why it happened was not that he saw what the person was doing, but somehow recognised the person and anticipated they would be there. So some suggestion that this is agent provocateur is just complete and utter nonsense.

    John Cleary: Let’s talk about the third rite for a moment, particularly what’s happened in Brisbane over the past week or so. Archbishop Bathersby has said that while he supports absolutely the statement coming from His Holiness about the insistence on the first rite, he has nevertheless said that he hopes that one day a broader view of the use of the third rite will be generally accepted. Now is he being disloyal in that?

    Paul Brazier: No, I wouldn’t use the word ‘disloyal’, I think he’s fantasising. The Council of Trent declared infallibly that auricular confession to a priest was the intention of Jesus Christ, and it was his will, and from the very beginning people confessed their serious sins in an auricular confession to a priest and that anyone who says that is not the case, let them be an anathema, said the Council of Trent. And the fact of the matter is that serious sin requires personal integral confession, it’s a theological point, it’s a doctrinal matter, it is not a disciplinary matter. And that’s the reason why I’m surprised that Archbishop Bathersby said what he’s said.

    John Cleary: I’ll give you a fairly provocative offering that somebody has mentioned to me in conjunction with putting this together. They said the only example of a spy in the New Testament was Judas Iscariot; why are you behaving in such an un-Christian fashion?

    Paul Brazier: Well it’s not un-Christian, and it’s not Judas-like, and the example that I would come back with is this: a Catholic church has been sorely criticised for many years now for turning a blind eye and failing to collect the evidence against those members of the clergy, small although the numbers are, who have sought to interfere with children, and adults. And clerical abuse has been a real problem, so the secular media say, particularly because of the way the church has handled it. Now what I say is this: those priests who deliberately and disobediently set out to destroy the sacrament of penance as the church sees and understands it, are spiritual paedophiles, and you know, one would in no way want to in any way lessen the seriousness of physical paedophilia at all, and it’s most serious. But the point about it is that Our Lord said ‘Don’t fear those who kill the body, but those who would take the body and soul to hell together’. And I’m telling you this, that we will not shirk from doing what is proper and legitimate, and I think you will find that there are bishops in Australia who have gone on record to agree that we are within our rights in fact to take this information to the proper authorities. We will not shirk from that, as some have shirked in the question of physical abuse, because spiritual abuse of young, innocent children particularly, is deadly.

    John Cleary: Paul Brazier of the Catholic Advocacy Centre.”

  11. David2 says:

    Aussie Paul, I applaud your actions. I was just coming into the Church at that time, and the decisive action of the laity and Rome was one of the things helped give me courage to persist in the face of all the problems faced by the Church.

    I think you persuasively answered all of these nonsensical “spying” allegations back then; although it seems that in Sth Brisbane, only the technology has changed. For some people it’s always 1968 – they’re the ones prattling on about “lay empowerment” until, that is, laymen empower themselves to ask for fidelity to Catholic teaching, and then they come out with specious comparisons to Judas Iscariot….

  12. Shin says:

    If only we had more good people like Mr. Stokes documenting these problems! Everything like this needs to be out in the open, not covered up, so it can be dealt with!

    People should definitely record the evidence because frankly, if one does not — there will be NO ACTION taken by the bishops and Vatican. Even with recordings often NO ACTION is taken, so people need to know where NOT TO GO, and what priests are DANGEROUS. There’s nothing worse than going to a church and expecting good advice, and real sacraments, and getting a priest who could give you a bad absolution, no Eucharist only pretend, no baptism, etc.

    These are real and horrible problems, not someone going around with a camera ‘looking for trouble’. It’s not a bad thing to ‘look for problems’ like this and let people no, no not a bad thing at all — it’s virtuous. I don’t know Mr. Stokes’ heart, and certainly no one else does either — are not the people complaining about Mr. Stokes presuming the worst for him and ‘the best’ for the priest? On the contrary we must be realistic, and not complain about imperfections of motivations which of course can be worked on if they are really there, but do not negate that this is a good thing to do objectively!

    No cover ups! Honesty!

  13. Victoria says:

    Abp Bathesby meekly asked the parish priest to cease the objectionable practises in his church and the pp referred the matter to a committee. If the Abp had set a time limit as to when St Mary’s liturgies were to be celebrated according to the rubrics we would not have this mess.

    None of the clergy, including Abp Bathesby, seem to be concerned that babies may still be being baptised invalidly which means that they can receive no sacrament validly.

    Cathnews repeats the news items of other sources. It appears to spend most of its time trawling the bottom of the news pool for any adverse material about Catholicism it can find and when the material isn’t bad enough it will spin the headline or, as one person noticed, omit mitigating sentences. Cathnews is run by Jesuits and seems to be regarded favourably by the Australian Bishops’ Comission.

  14. Peter says:

    Anyone notice that the big sign is a quote from Pope Bendict’s address to French bishops about Summorum Pontificum?

    I’m sure someone has already mentioned that and I’ve just missed it.

  15. Volpius says:

    The problem is the longer this abuse is allowed to continue the more scandal is going to take place and the division will grow deeper.

    Are both sided at fault in this incident? Probably. But the greater blame must sit with those who have the greater responsibility, the root course is rebellious priests it seems to me, deal with them and all the other problems go away.

    This is evidence that people are getting sick and tired of these traitor priests, so sick that some are going to start taking matters into their own hands. This is what happens when law and order breaks down, you get vigilante justice. People are losing faith in priests and losing faith in the ability or willingness of the Church to enforce her laws. Many will just leave the Church others will stay and fight, war is not pretty and the sooner the Church brings about peace through properly enforcing her laws the better for all of us.

    This is very dangerous situation which is developing and the Church is going to have to act if she does not want civil war to break out between the clergy and the laity. I cant help but sympathise with this fellow, there have been times when I have felt like dragging certain priests of the altar the way they behave and the things they say, and I know I am not the only one.

    The solution is yet again a simple one, make it clear the priests have broken communion with us and are outside the Church, once that happens they cease to be our problem and can go about performing as many fake baptisms as they want in their own name rather than in that of the Church. Strong and clear leadership from the Bishop is the only thing that will fix this sad situation.

    Stop been nice to people who commit treason against the Church, death or exile is the only way to deal with such people, and is necessary to protect the innocent from those who would do them harm.

    What is a sheep to do when your own shepherd is trying to kill you?

  16. (another) Peter says:

    Although already answered, I will add to the answer to Fr Z’s question: yes there are laws prohibiting the disturbance of religious services in Australia.

    In one case, the adherents of the infamous Debbie of the Magnificat Meal Movement were removed by police from the parish church of Helidon (St Joseph’s) and subsequnelty charged.

    In relation to the goings on at St Mary’s, many of the parish’s adherents make much of the practical social justice practiced by the priests and the community. This is a terrible irony as for a Catholic, or even one who knows what the Church teaches, the simulated administration of any sacrament, but especially baptism, is a grave spiritual injustice.

    And as to the ordinary, were that he were as pastoral with those of a ‘less progressive bent’ in his care… Many of us in Australia joke, (though perhaps it is no joking matter) that every diocese north of certain point, including every one in the state of Queensland, is mission country.

  17. Calleva says:

    A friend sent me a copy of a letter from Richard Stokes that has been circulating. Here is part of it:

    …The ‘parishioners’ come from all over Brisbane. There are ‘Catholic’ schoolteachers and even principals.

    The Mass is said by the people, right through. The homily was [once] given by a man reported to be a homosexual activist. The Gospel by a woman.

    Fr Kennedy came down from the sanctuary (used by the singers), and held aloft a host and a chalice while the people gathered around the table at his direction and said the Eucharistic Prayer, including the consecration.

    All this will go to Rome shortly. Fr Kennedy does not want anyone photographing anything shonky going on. He was quite happy with all other cameras except mine.

    Now for a layman to strike a priest, I believe the penalty is excommunication. We’ll see what happens to a priest who strikes a layman, particularly one not accused of any known commandment.

    The ‘parishioners are trying to spin the event as one where I was taking pictures of young children with some illicit intent. This is how far they are prepared to go to keep me out of ‘their’ church.

    * * * *

    See how nasty the Liberals get when they are in a corner?

  18. Pseudomodo says:

    The Church is big enough for everyone. I agree (and I believe all faithful Catholics from the Pope on down also agree) with the less obvious sentiments of the sign that even people who strongly dissent from the teaching of the Catholic Church definitely have a place within the structure of the Catholic Church.

    And that place is called the CONFESSIONAL…

  19. Baron Korf says:

    The article leaves a lot of important information out. For example: Was he being intrusive by taking the picture, or was it that the priest knew who he was and didn’t want him around at all?

  20. Michael J says:

    Lets not sugarcoat this issue. This goes far beyond “abuse”. I do not know what happened in this instance, but in the previous cases, these pseudo-baptisms risked the eternal damnation of those invalidly baptized.

  21. Jean-Marie says:

    It’s quite sad to hear about the “Liturgical Abuse” continuing some 40 years now. Some of these baptisms force me to really start questioning the positive condition of intention, if for example a practice to change the words of the form is habitual (or even instant), or a wide defect to matter from poor health of rubrics. 40 years of Satan’s Smoke! The CDF finally has said something and declared some baptisms invalid, but there are many other cases or widespread pseudo-praxis going on around so-called Progressivist circles.

    For your bookmarks, here’s another baptism video ala Brisbane-Baptism, but it involves a wrestling match (Sorry, no Hulk Hogan is not in it!):

    St. Pius V, pray for us!

  22. John says:

    As someone who occasionally attends St Mary’s and as someone who was there last Sunday (but left before the Baptisms as I had no interest in remaining longer) I think I can assist.


    The letter that is believed to be from Richard Stokes is a fair description. Some of it can be verified by the St Mary’s newsletter for the 11th to 12th October, 2008. Tony Robertson is listed under the heading “Homily”. I have no insight into Mr Robertson’s sexual preferences. Any time I have been there he has been at the Church. He likes to boast about his social work. He presents as an aged hippy with long white hair and appropriate uniform so that appears to be a stronger part of his identity. There definitely are teachers there and a former Catholic school teacher told me he used to bring the students there when he taught at a Catholic school. I guess that explains the younger people there considering liberal Churches don’t normally seem to attract them.

    I note that liberal elements in the Church dispute that the buddha statue under the tabernacle was a buddha and argue that it is a monk. However the parishioner who originally complained about it (who isn’t Richard Stokes) is an ex-Buddhist. I will avoid anything more specific so as to protect the innocent. It is safer for Catholics to keep their head down in that Church and I don’t want to endanger anyone.

    According to Fr Kennedy Richard Stokes is the main reason that the Archbishop felt it necessary to intervene. He is considered to be the main source of complaints. I have twice seen Father become aware that Mr Stokes was present and point to Mr Stokes in front of parishioners as a whole on one occasion and an individual parishioner on another loudly and angrily saying words to that effect.

    After (not immediately) the Archbishop’s letter Fr Kennedy has expressed a strong ‘stand and fight’ opinion. Not even all the liberal parishioners agree with that approach. He has indicated that he doesn’t intend to change. The Mass on Sunday demonstrated that he means it.


    I agree with the comment that a mobile phone record is today’s equivalent of taking notes and requires less planning and preparation then bringing pen and pro-forma paper. If Mr Stokes intends to complain about the lack of change he would need to evidence that in some way and mobile phones are the notebooks of yesteryear as someone pointed out.

    “I don’t know how things are in Australia, but in my native place, it is illegal to disturb a religious service.”

    Lifting a mobile phone to your face isn’t classifiable as disturbing a religious service. Surely many people there would be using real cameras. Well may Fr Kennedy’s supporters say it was provocative in response to Father being investigated by police for assault but without some facts supporting it it is hard to reconcile that opinion with the known facts. Isn’t a more reasonable presumption that Mr Stokes really was trying to take a photo of the improperly dressed priest as he claimed given his apparent history of making complaints? I admit to being biased by other observations I have made. I have observed certain more hostile liberal parishioners (some others respect Mr Stokes right to do what he believes in to their credit) approach Mr Stokes. He has always been polite to them rather than provocative. Time will tell but I suspect his only provocation was complying with the duties in 183 and 184.

    “The biggest problems in my mind come from the fact that not everyone who thinks he knows what ought to be done really knows very much at all. Also, if a person is going into a church with a malicious or a “gotchya” attitude… well… that’s a problem.”

    Mr Stokes has apparently complained previously resulting in the Archbishop stating publically that the parish is out of communion with the Church. Thus he is correct and as you now know he is a parishioner at the Church. It is no secret that abuses are occurring. That comment and counselling us to avoid self righteousness both appear to be unfair criticisms of Mr Stokes. He seems to have complied to the letter of the law you cited. Now that you have more facts I hope you will consider retracting them.

  23. David2 says:

    Most Australians posting here would seem to be aware that the problems in Brisbane are endemic, and not confined to individual parishes. They reach to the diocesan level.

    For example, Mrs Harrington, the Liturgucal Commission’s “Education Officer” has said the following in the diocesan newspaper:

    1. “It was only in the Middle Ages, when the faithful ceased to participate actively in the Mass, that the German custom of kneeling was introduced into the Roman liturgy”.

    2. “Celebrating liturgy well is not simply a matter of saying the words and doing the prescribed gestures exactly as set out in the ritual book.” [Guess she doesn’t like Fr Z then!].

    3. “But it is always necessary to ask how we turn the liturgical text into an evocative liturgical event for this particular group on this particular occasion. It is here that real creativity comes in.”

    4. “It involves studying the rite to see how it is structured and how one part flows into the other. It is appropriate to use a banner, drama or poem if it helps to make a symbol or moment of the rite expressive, if it leads the people into the liturgical action more deeply, or if it gives the liturgical text a voice.”

    5. “Vatican II did not ‘ban’ Latin at all but did encourage the use of vernacular languages rather than Latin so that, as Pope John Paul II put it, “every individual can understand and proclaim in his or her mother tongue the wonders of God”.

    What Vatican II did ‘abolish’ was the Tridentine Mass, the Order of Mass from the Council of Trent in the mid-1570s, which was celebrated in Latin. It was replaced by the new Order of Mass with the publication of the Missal of Paul VI in 1970.

    Silly Holy Father! He really should be listening to the Liturgical Witch of Brisbane, before making pronouncements to the effect that the Old Mass was “never abrogated”!

    His Grace has three years to go before he reaches the age of 75. Faithful Catholics count the days.

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