A decision in Brisbane about renegade St. Mary’s and Fr. Kennedy

You all know about the wacky St. Mary’s in Brisbane and the wackier Fr. Kennedy, who has led his flock toward the cliff.

This is in from ABC.

Brisbane priest sacked over Catholic feud

By Kim Lyell and Kerrin Binnie

Posted Sun Feb 8, 2009 12:36pm AEDT

A priest has been sacked from a Brisbane church after a long-running feud with the Vatican.

St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at South Brisbane has been accused of performing unorthodox mass and not respecting the church hierarchy.

The Archbishop of Brisbane, John Bathersby, previously warned Father Peter Kennedy to stop flouting church rules or face the sack.

In a letter received on Friday, Archbishop Bathersby said Father Kennedy and "the community have not budged an inch".

It says Father Kennedy’s appointment will be terminated on February 21, unless he resigns first.

Father Kennedy says he is considering his options. [?]

"I’ve been here 28 years and I know this community is solidly behind me, and so we could go elsewhere," he said. 

In the letter, Archbishop Bathersby says parishioners cannot be stopped from breaking away but has warned them they will not be in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Around 700 people repeated the familiar [to whom?] Catholic rites at mass at St Mary’s in south Brisbane this morning.

The letter visibly upset the congregation.

Parishioners at the Brisbane parish say will continue to celebrate mass in their own way.

Margaret Ortiz from the St Mary’s leadership group says the congregation is staying put and Father Kennedy will continue to say mass.

"They would have to come a physically remove us," she said.

Vince Knauth, also from St Mary’s leadership group, says it is not right that Father Kennedy is being singled out.

"Statistically this week 4,392 priests and deacons of the United States were subject to allegations of child molestation – that’s between 1950 and 2002," he said.  [that again?]

"Two per cent of those were actually put behind bars.

"Peter [Kennedy] would be in better books with the Catholic church if he’d molested a child than what we’re doing here." 

Father Kennedy has appealed to the Archbishop to reconsider

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  1. Kradcliffe says:

    Dear Lord, guide and strengthen Archbishop Bathersby…. this must be so hard for him to do.

    Those poor, misguided parishioners. :(

  2. A Random Friar says:

    Fr. Z: The bold appears to be locked in after this post for all subsequent posts, at least on my Firefox/MS Vista.

  3. Mitch says:

    It may take years but i hope they see the light. I just do not understand why they do not want to be part of the Catholic Church as a whole? Why seperate themselves? Universal and connective it is beautiful. I am happy they are taking action against this rogue Priest. I am curious if interiorally he feels conflicted, as if he has led souls astry or put them in danger? He must question it, even if not outwardly. A sad situation there indeed.

  4. BD says:

    Why wait until February 21? 2 more weeks of idol worship in a Catholic Church is NOT pleasing to God.

  5. MargaretMN says:

    The money quote for me is “I’ve been here 28 years and I know this community is solidly behind me, and so we could go elsewhere,” he said.”

    I have seen it many times. If a priest gets a parish for more than about 10 years both he and often the parish suffer. It is too easy for a cult of personality to develop when the priest is talented or for parishioners to mistake a priest’s personal quirks or interests for what’s by the book. I think change is probably good for the priest as well, even if there are challenges. At least his ego won’t swell to the size of this guy’s. There was a reason why Paul was always on the move and counseled others to do likewise to spread the faith.

  6. Chris says:

    You have to see this news report from three weeks ago. This so-called priest wears a dress shirt and slacks for “mass” and actually admits on this report to assulting a traditional Catholic who came in with a video camera to gather evidence to bring to Rome:


  7. LHansen says:

    It’s actually a very nice church building, still has a high altar and all.
    Hopefully the Bishop can find a good Catholic group to say Mass there after they put the pews back in.


  8. Scott W. says:

    “Statistically this week 4,392 priests and deacons of the United States were subject to allegations of child molestation – that’s between 1950 and 2002,” he said.

    “Two per cent of those were actually put behind bars.”

    Any cop would recognize this. It’s the, “Why are you pulling me over for reckless driving when you should be out looking for drug dealers?” defense. It don’t work with the fuzz, and it won’t work here.

  9. vox borealis says:

    It is too bad that all of these people prefer to worship their renegade priest that submit to the proper communal worship of God shared by all Catholics. That they would be willing to “go elsewhere” show how poorly catechized they are. Shameful all the way around.

  10. Scott W. says:

    Oh yeah Fr. Z, I must remind you of a great quote you had when responding to neighboring Bishop Powers when he said people on the various sides of this controversy needed to find middle ground:

    “The ‘middle ground’? For example, just do half of the baptisms invalidly?”

  11. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    “I’ve been here 28 years and I know this community is solidly behind me, and so we could go elsewhere.”

    Really, do you promise? Need help packing the communion tables, felt stoles and banners, guitars, and other ’60s paraphernalia?

  12. Susan Peterson says:

    So if it goes to court, what do Australia’s laws say? Are Australian diocese organized as corporations sole, owned by the bishop? In that case it would seem that the diocese has clear claim to the property and can, indeed, have them evicted by force of law. Will the diocese do that, I wonder? What is the rationale for doing that, versus just leaving them to go on there and declaring that they are not a Catholic church? I doubt if they can make them take down the sign saying that they are a Catholic church, if they leave them in the property. So there is a strong potential that allowing them to stay in the property would be allowing them to continue to mislead people. I feel odd having this opinion, since I have just experienced with my husband’s conservative Anglican parish, being evicted from their church building by the Episcopal diocese.
    However this time the diocese is a diocese of the true Church and is facing the fact that Catholics in this parish have become heretics. I do feel they should evict them. What do others think?

  13. Father Nicholas Schumm says:

    Congratulations, Father Kennedy! You’re on the verge of becoming a Protestant minister out of full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church! You’re leading people to disdain proper God-given authority and you’re helping people rebel “just like Jesus”…kudos! (not!)…Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

  14. William says:

    Too little, too late!

  15. r7blue1pink says:

    I would expect this kind of writing to be in the National Enquirer..

  16. Scott W. says:

    I would expect this kind of writing to be in the National Enquirer..

    True in that this church wasn’t invalidly baptising the Bat Boy, but that’s not much comfort. :)

  17. Brian says:

    “Statistically this week 4,392 priests and deacons of the United States were subject to allegations of child molestation – that’s between 1950 and 2002,” he said.

    I think that raising the priest abuse scandal during a discussion of Catholic issues should be added as a corollary to Godwin’s Law.

  18. Br Pelagius says:

    There is a little more info over at The Priory this morning.


    Did anyone else notice that in the media conference, Christ wasn’t mentioned?
    nor was He mentioned by any of the parishioners in the recordings done by
    the ABC?

    For overseas readers, the ABC is Australia’s public broadcaster and
    notoriously left-wing politically and anti-Church.

  19. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Br Pelagius: “For overseas readers, the ABC is Australia’s public broadcaster and notoriously left-wing politically and anti-Church.”

    Sounds like the BBC and the C[anadian]BC. What’s with public broadcasters in the English-speaking world?

  20. memoriadei says:

    I may be boo’ed for saying this so first I want to say that NO priest ever has a right to sexually encounter anyone…however, I don’t consider 15+ year old boys as victims. Ask any girl if she would were even 13 confused by this type of advance. Ok, enough said about that….my point is that only 2 % were jailed….of all the “allegations”, how many were real and how many were proven beyond doubt. Seriously, I question many of these allegations as money making scrubs…especially those who don’t bother to mention it for 35 years. I digress seriously. I say, don’t let the door hit them in the butt when they leave. But, it looks like they want to refuse to leave but of course, pride would need a big scene after all. Slacks and a t-shirt??? He is already protestant as well as those who follow him. Bravo to the bishop! What is this dire need to say “we are Catholic” and just aren’t. I hope in the next 2 weeks, someone can get the parishoners aside and tell them just what is wrong in hopes some will not leave. And pray we must !! For the bishop and for ALL there.

  21. John Polhamus says:

    “…I know this community is solidly behind me…”

    What a sick example of the cult of personality replacing the properly ordered hierarchical life of the church. They’re behind Fr. Kennedy, instead of being solidly behind Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. And he is giving them himself to be focussing on, instead of being solidly behind Christ as he should. They are all at sea, and sharks are prowling closer and closer, in fact they threaten to swim towards the sharks. This is the madness of inculturation and Vat II relativism. Madness. The Archbishop is absolutely right to draw the line. Sometimes a slap is the only way to stop a hysteric.

  22. tertullian says:

    “Father Kennedy says he is considering his options.”

    unless someone drops a new “parish” (including the building) in his lap, he isn’t going anywhere. This is too good a deal.

  23. TJM says:

    The comments from Kennedy’s parishioners’ very succinctly summarizes the problem there – Father Kennedy himself. You see it’s all about him, so they believe it’s all about them. The hell with the Lord, God. Unless they have a dramatic change of heart, I say good riddance. This parish church should be used by Catholics. Tom

  24. Scott W. says:

    I think that raising the priest abuse scandal during a discussion of Catholic issues should be added as a corollary to Godwin’s Law.


  25. frv says:

    NON SERVIAM!!! Those are the words of the Devil, and his minions repeat them often. I WILL NOT SERVE! How boldly disobedient they are being. Show yourselves, says the Lord, and that’s what they’re doing. Lord, give the good bishop courage and fortitude! Kyrie, eleison!

  26. Trevor says:

    Is this priest going to be excommunicated? The article made it seem like he was just going to be “terminated” from his post as pastor. His views are heretical and he’s leading his congregation into schism…obviously the punishment should be more grave than a pink slip.

  27. They could “go elsewhere”? Do they not care that salvation is through the Catholic Church??? We are privileged to be a part of the Church which saves us; the Church is not as privileged to have US, as if we could save Her! I think we should pray daily for the grace to be worthy of the gift of Catholicism which we have received as a gift from God.

    Also, it’s sad how Catholics often bring up the abuse scandal whenever they are personally attacked. Sean Hannity did the same thing when he was attacked on his show for his pro-contraception views. He said “you should be thanking ME for still being willing to call myself a Catholic after the abuse scandal.” On the contrary, we should be thanking God that we have the gift of Catholicism. We are not doing the Church a “favor” by remaining in communion with Her. We cling to Her for our salvation.

    The scandals and sins of certain members of the Church affect us all due to our communion with Her. Sins and scandals are not to be used as “leverage” to argue that since certain members of the Church have sinned (as we all do), we are therefore allowed to dissent.

    I think the good Father’s “options” here are heaven or hell. Not to judge him, but to openly break from the Church doesn’t bode well for him or for the souls to which he ministers. We must cling to Holy Mother Church with all our might, and not to one specific pastor or to erroneous ideals. In the end, neither of these things will save our souls.

  28. Clinton says:

    Fr. Kennedy was given a terrible responsibility when he assumed his duties as a parish priest. Were I his bishop I would be frantic
    to make him understand the enormity of his errors, to turn him around, because someday he will be judged for the damage done to the souls in his care. Repentance doesn’t seem to be on the horizon yet. So, while I’m sure we all agree that Bp. Bathersby
    finally did the only thing possible in removing him, I also hope that Fr. Kennedy will, in time, return like the prodigal son.

    It’s all very interesting in light of recent events surrounding the SSPX. Of course, the people of the SSPX damaged their union with
    the rest of the Church for much different reasons than Fr. Kennedy and his parish. Some sour little people are delighted that the
    reconciliation between the SSPX and the rest of the Church has been so difficult. I don’t want to become one of those types when it
    comes to fools like Fr. Kennedy and his flock. “Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you” is an understandable, but
    ultimately unhelpful attitude with these folks as it is with the SSPX.

    Somewhere under all those layers of arrogance and idiocy surrounding Fr. Kennedy and his parishoners lie the souls of Catholics.
    They’ve been without enough adult supervision for a long time, and outside the Church they’ll be without it completely. To
    continue the Prodigal Son metaphor, they’re about to wallow with a lot of pigs — I pray that they may in time make it back to
    our Father’s house.

  29. Alan F. says:

    Send in the FSSP!
    They’ll sort ’em out!

  30. Clinton says:

    Philip Gerard Johnson, that was beautifully put. Thank you, sir.

  31. William says:

    What makes me sick whenever this type of discussion comes up is that the situation has been allowed to percolate for such a long time. Our “pastoral” bishops have been snorkeling in a sand pile these past 40 years.

  32. Rob says:

    This sounds too familiar to the Corpus Christi situation we had here in the Diocese of Rochester. After over a decade of disobedience, Bishop Matthew Clark finally was forced by the Vatican to remove Jim Callan (the pastor). Soon, the members of Corpus Christi started their own church under the leadership of Mary Rammerman, who wore an alb and half-stole at Corpus. They named it “Spiritus Christi” and have drawn around 900-1200 for a decade now.

    Basically, this church is probably going to go down a similar road. They’ll follow their priest to wherever he goes and start their own church, maybe even form a collaboration with this Spiritus Christi church we have here in the DoR. The people will probably cause all kinds of trouble for the new priest assigned to their parish, start protests, tie black ribbons on the door, throw the Blessed Sacrament back at the priest (yes, this happened at Corpus Christi).

    We’ve seen this all before, and it gets ugly. The bishop down there should have put a stop to this nonsense long ago, just like our bishop should have done. But, it’s too late, and the people are going to cause trouble now.


  33. Sounds all too familiar, if you are from St Louis.

    I would say, even though it seems like it has been percolating, the thing to remember is we never know the efforts that were behind the scene

    ST Stan’s in St louis had been brewing since the 70’s. It only “hit the fan” recently, because the options were exhausted. So people on the opposing side blamed his Excellency.

    I fear St Mary’s is the same. Seems that there have been “pastoral” attempts before. The problem with people like this, is the same as with the ultra progressivists. They arent going to change over night, so we have to be patient, and most of all pray for them.

    That is not to say that Bishops shouldnt be acting firmly, on the contrary that is exactly what they need. But, we have to also accept the fact that they arent going to like it(even though, what matters most is their souls), and remember to pray for all involved.

    Eventually they come to their senses, the Holy Spirit does his work, and all is right, just takes patience and prayer

  34. Jayna says:

    “Margaret Ortiz from the St Mary’s leadership group says the congregation is staying put and Father Kennedy will continue to say mass.”

    O rly?

    (I know that was a childish response, but it was the first thing that popped into my head!)

  35. Barnabas says:

    That youtube video almost made me vomit. What was that wretched music they were playing?

    Oh, and I love the part where Fr. Kennedy said that Jesus was a rule breaker and fighting against authority like the Church. I must’ve missed that part of the Gospel.

    Bishop Bathersby certainly needs our prayers in fixing this heresy. The parishioners also need them. I hope they all repent and come to the true Church.

  36. Scott W. says:

    “I know that was a childish response”

    Actually it wasn’t. It’s a worthy response to quote that is essentially, “We’re gonna sit here and hold our breath until we turn blue!”

  37. little gal says:

    There is alot of similarity between Fr. Kennedy in Brisbane and Fr. Pfleger in Chicago–right down to the threat to take the flock and start their own church. The question is why isn’t the Vatican interceding to see that these situations are remediated in the same way?

  38. Bruce says:

    I watched the movie Broadcast News recently and with everything that has been going on in the last three months I thought I would share this quote with everyone:

    “What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he’s around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I’m semi-serious here. He will look
    attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing…he will just bit by little bit
    lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance….” Aaron Altman

  39. Jane says:

    My country Australia has at the moment; terrible bushfires, floods and Fr Kennedy and his mixed-up parishioners. That’s a bit of an overload for any country!

  40. Marteen says:

    The strange thing is, it looks like a combination of Wiccanism and Protestantism. Such a shame it is a glorious gothic church with beautiful venerated statues, if only it were the will of God that those statues weep at the sight. :(

  41. Brendan says:

    “Our “pastoral” bishops have been snorkeling in a sand pile these past 40 years.”

    Haha :D

  42. Hmmm, I wonder…the Bishop should be able to bar him from preaching in public…

  43. Resident Rubricist says:

    Why weren’t Fr. Kennedy’s faculties to minister revoked by the Bishop long ago? I don’t recall hearing that they have been. Wouldn’t that have prevented him from celebrating Mass? Or at least claiming that whatever Mass it is that he celebrates is any form of the Roman Rite?

  44. australicus says:

    Although ordained a Catholic priest, and in what we now call the extraordinary form, Peter Kennedy does not have the Catholic faith any longer. His good qualities are vitiated by this evil. His ignorance is supine and his conscience seared: such at least is the conclusion that follows from the facts. Many of his congregants were never Catholics, and soon none of them will be. Parce, Domine.

  45. Br Pelagius says:

    If you all knew Bats (Archbishop Bathersby) you woudl realise that he is
    like many of the old 1990s bishops of Australia – piss weak when it comes to
    clergy discipline.

    It is suspected that he has handed in his resignation to the Vatican – yet to
    be accepted however – given a few comments of late.

    Keep watching this space.

  46. Warren Anderson says:

    Were this a situation involving naïve sheep the circumstance might merit continued patience. As it is, you have a defiant pastor whose words and actions clearly warrant decisive action. When a priest in our diocese said “no” to our current bishop the bishop removed him. Yes, his “supporters” made an issue of matters in the local media, but they didn’t have a leg to stand on. It was clear that they had no interest in following our good bishop’s counsel. They preferred to issue their decree (via a scandal hungry media) to reinstate a defiant pastor (and threatening to withhold financial contributions) thinking it would make the bishop back down. A wise and sedate Monsignor was given the difficult task of reorienting the first parish and has done (thanks be to God!) a remarkable job. Even in the midst of all the troubles, the bishop saw to it that the wayward priest was invited to the Holy Thursday Mass last year and he was allowed to concelebrate with his brother priests. Justice and mercy. That same priest, after a significant “time out” and corrective discipline, was relocated to a rural parish. You can bet, however, the bishop is keeping a close eye on this formerly wayward son of the Church. As for the handful of supporters, most have drifted off to “open and accepting” communities where “diversity” is practiced – ahem.

    Fr. Kennedy, by the sounds of it, needs a permanent time out. He is a danger to souls. Given the sheer of the weight of the (damning) evidence, there’s likely not much one could do but waste one’s breath in an attempt to persuade him to come to his senses. If he wants to leave, let him leave. Freeze the parish’s assets, cut off his salary (since he’s not doing the work of the Church anyway) and give his job to someone with really thick skin who is as patient as Job and who really loves the Church. It only takes one saint to change things around. Clearly, Fr. Kennedy does not love the Church. Rather, Fr. Kennedy loves what he thinks the Church should be, which in this case means he is just another priest who wants to be pope.

  47. australicus says:

    The congregants of South Brisbane have been deceived, willingly or otherwise, for 28 years. They have been told that the congregation was part of the Catholic Church. Clearly it is not, nor has it been. No amount of posturing will change this. There are now threats to claim the church property as an Aboriginal sacred site, and launch a legal battle to appropriate it. Let us pray that this attempt to rob the Church and (further) violate her sanctuaries may not succeed.

  48. I am not Spartacus says:

    …however, I don’t consider 15+ year old boys as victims.

    Well, I am sure those victims are comforted by your dismissal of their suffering.

    You are unaware of the reality of the situation. Certain young males have always been victims of homosexuals, whether those homosexuals are priests or coaches or public school teachers.

    Homosexuals are adept at identifying and cultivating a special relationship with exploitable adolescents. And the adolescent males targeted for abuse by the homosexuals tend to be highly respectful of the authoritative homosexual preying upon them and, after they have been sexually abused, ashamed of what they let themselves get into.

    Quite often the abuse occurs after the homosexual gets the young males intoxicated or stoned.

    Instead of thinking those victims should walk in your adult shoes, try walking in their shoes. But, to do that takes some real knowledge of the psychology of abuse and victimhood and how it is intertwined with respect for authority and, possibly, a lack of love experienced within the victim’s family.

    Don’t blame minors who have suffered abuse at the hands of adult homosexuals. Those minors will face a lifetime of shame and regret and will, likely, blame themselves for what happened to them.

    I know. From personal experience.

  49. TJM says:

    I am not Spartacus, I agree with you. A young man of 15 or so would be very unusual indeed in the context you describe to withstand the blandishments
    of an older man. Tom

  50. Charivari Rob says:

    One would hope the notice to Father Kennedy included some passage like the following…

    You certainly will have a sizable task ahead of you in the next two weeks as you pack. After 28 years, every thing you take away with you will be a touchstone to so many memories! As you may recall, it is our practice in this archdiocese to help departing pastors with this task, and to ensure that the flood of memories doesn’t leave one confused as to what should be left behind. To that end, the Vicar General and I are assigning a priest from the chancery and representatives of our archdiocesan accounting & auditing contractor to look after all the details of transition for you. Godspeed.

  51. Sorrow says:

    It is awful the way this has snowballed but perhaps it needed to happen.One of Father Kennedy’s comments which I found particularly disturbing was his comment that he knew he needed to fly below the radar in other words he was not simply doing things out of naieve ignorance of Church guidance but was knowingly going his own way.I pray for all caught up in this mess.

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