Father Peter Kennedy, parish priest of St Mary's Catholic Church South Brisbane, says he will lead a breakaway congregation if Brisban's Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby closes St Mary's Church.
For many years, the Catholic parish of St Mary's, has been notorious for its continued liturgical abuses and doctrinal errors. In 2004 Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane took action over an invalid baptismal formula - 'Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier' instead of 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit'. Earlier this year matters came to a head when a statue of Buddha was placed in front of the altar at St Mary's, prompting letters of complaint to the Archbishop and to the Vatican.
Father Kennedy said he was determined to carry on. "The reality is that, if we are excluded from this church, the Trades and Labor Council have already offered us their place just down the road," he said. The Archbishop has reminded the parish that it is operating outside the accepted practices of the Roman Catholic Church and has encouraged Father Kennedy to avoid practices that separate him and his congregation from communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
For Father Kennedy and his followers personal intellect and discernment have replaced acceptance that the Holy Spirit speaks through those who are legitimately ordained superiors. The popular but erroneous view that the Church is the people has led some to believe that Church authorities must "dialogue" with "the people" before making any binding decrees.
Church leadership is an office of service, but service to the Triune God, who inspires and enlightens according to Scripture and divine revelation. It is impossible for the Church to offer any teaching, no matter how popular, that does not accord with that revelation.
When priests publicly challenge that revelation, they should be and sometimes are censured. Some bishops have hesitated to exercise their legitimate pastoral role in calling dissidents to account. Their wish to avoid the inevitable conflict such censure would provoke is understandable.
The Archbishop is expected to make a definitive statement on the fate of the parish later this month.
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