BRISBANE archdiocesan chancellor Fr Adrian Farrelly has expressed hope that legal action will not be needed to resolve the impasse over St Mary’s, South Brisbane, despite Fr Peter Kennedy’s decision to withdraw from the mediation process.
Fr Farrelly, who is a canon lawyer, said it was hoped that Fr Kennedy would hand the keys to St Mary’s Church over to the new administrator Fr Ken Howell “to ensure a changeover in the normal way as decided by Archbishop (John) Bathersby”.
Lawyers for Fr Kennedy on Monday confirmed he had withdrawn from the independent mediation process to have been facilitated by Ian Callinan QC and scheduled to have started on Wednesday.
However, there were hopeful signs that some members of the St Mary’s community were concerned at the current situation, Fr Farrelly said.
“From time to time I’ve had email contact with the leadership and pastoral council in this community and I know there is concern about what’s happening,” he said.
“I’m only reading between the lines but I also believe there’s concern that the parish will continue in the long term.
“It’s understood that parishes often grow to love their priests – people don’t want them to go.
“The thing is any parish has a past, present and a future.
“So much of what St Mary’s – and any other parish enjoys – are the fruits of the work of those who have gone before.
“It’s not as if St Mary’s began in 1983 when Fr Kennedy took over.”
Fr Farrelly said “many good things had flowed from Fr Kennedy’s administration in this time”.
“However, for what ever reason, he has chosen to part company with the teachings and practices expected of a Catholic priest.
“This is why the Archbishop issued a decree cancelling Fr Kennedy’s appointment as administrator of St Mary’s parish.”
Fr Farrelly said it was important that Fr Howell be allowed “as soon as possible” to get on with the job he was given on February 20 as the new administrator of St Mary’s.
“At this point Fr Kennedy’s refusal to participate in the mediation process leaves the Archbishop with no option other than to consult with the archdiocesan legal advisors to facilitate the handover of St Mary’s administration through the proper legal processes.”
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