The Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Durban has refused to allow any of its churches to be used to bury priest Eldred Leslie, who was murdered at his Pietermaritzburg home 10 days ago.
A well-placed source told The Mercury on Wednesday that the church had had problems with Leslie in the past because he had refused to accept the authority of Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, and previously that of Archbishop Denis Hurley, the head and former head of the Catholic Church in Durban.
Leslie, who was ordained by Hurley in 1968, belonged to the Pope Pius X Society, a right-wing breakaway group.
The group had refused to accept the reforms of the church at the Second Vatican Council held in Rome between 1962 and 1965.
Ironically, the current pope, Pope Benedict XI, has been attempting to heal the friction between the two sections of the church.
A requiem mass for Leslie will take place at St Joseph's Cathedral at the Mariannhill monastery, near Pinetown, at 2.30pm on Wednesday.
It is understood that the decision to bar Catholic churches in the archdiocese from burying Leslie had been taken at a local level, since Napier is currently attending a meeting of cardinals with Pope Benedict in Rome.
Leslie was regarded as a humanitarian priest and was associated with the Durban branch of The Association for the Aged (Tafta) for 33 years.
After he was murdered, Tafta president John Conradie called on KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele to appoint a task team to probe the recent increase in armed attacks on elderly and vulnerable people in the province,
Police have arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with Leslie's murder.
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