Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kennedy says he won't budge

South Brisbane's Fr Peter Kennedy says he is prepared to be arrested rather than leave St Mary's parish while Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby says he has received hate mail over his decision to remove Fr Kennedy.

"The Church wants you to pray, pay and obey and John Bathersby's theology is very fundamentalist theology," Fr Kennedy told the ABC.

"I'm not going away, I know that could be disruptive.

"I might get arrested and so might 20 or 30 or 50 parishioners if they bring the police in.

"If they change the locks, we might change them back."

Fr Peter Kennedy later told the City South News he would pursue an agenda of "peaceful rebellion" including sleeping in the church, staging rallies and organising protest concerts after he was sacked by Archbishop John Bathersby at the weekend.

"It's a very defiant act we're doing here but we've got the numbers, weve got the support," Fr Kennedy said.

"I know my people. I'm not just overly optimistic. I know the energy out there is huge. It's not about confrontation, its not about violence."

He also spoke out against traditional Catholic teachings, in particular the virginity of Mary, the ABC says.

"Can you possibly think any individual can believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary," he said.

"In the medieval times you might have understood that, but do you expect modern people today to believe that somehow she was impregnated with the Holy Spirit?"

"You've got to be relevant to people's lives, Jesus broke the rules all the time for the sake of the people," he said.

"It's not we who are in schism with the Catholic Church, The Catholic Church is not in sync with its own people."

Earlier he said that "it's one thing to say I'm not part of the Catholic Church, one thing to sack me, but then to say to all these wonderful people that they too are no longer part of the Catholic Church ..."

"I mean we are part of the Catholic Church," Fr Kennedy.

"It's dysfunctional but it is our mother. It's our family and we all come from dysfunctional families don't we."

Archbishop Bathersby received hate mail

Meanwhile, Archbishop Bathersby said he had received hundreds of letters from across Australia supporting the decision as well as people who strongly disagreed with it, Adelaide Now reports.

But despite the mixed response he does not believe the decision will fracture the Brisbane church community.

"It's awful when Christians fight with each other. Some of the things that have been said in letters to me were totally unacceptable, you wonder how such a person is a Christian or claiming to be a Christian," Archbishop Bathersby told ABC Radio.

"They're cursing me to damnation and telling me I should retire, I should resign, get out of the job.

"You know it really is hurtful stuff but at the same time I have received a lot of letters of people there who are courteous and very strong about South Brisbane.

"I have also received a lot of letters disagreeing with Fr Peter."

He added he made the decision to sack Fr Kennedy himself.

"I have not sought the advice of the Vatican," he said.

"This is part of the job of being an Archbishop.

"I've never been happier in my life than I am at the present time and never been more certain of the whole joy and happiness of the Christian vision."

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Sotto Voce

(Source: CTHN)