“Fr Kennedy’s beliefs and practices have separated him and those with him from the Church, local and universal, and caused confusion…”
Christine Kellett – Brisbane Times
June 5, 2009 – 4:30PM
Renegade Brisbane cleric Father Peter Kennedy has been booted from the Catholic priesthood once and for all.
The Catholic Church today announced it had formally suspended the former St Mary’s leader, banning him from performing all priestly duties “anywhere in the world”.
A decree was delivered to Fr Kennedy earlier this week after he ignored warnings from the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese to cease his involvement with a breakaway parish calling itself St Mary’s in Exile.
Fr Kennedy has led the group since being sacked from St Mary’s at South Brisbane over his unconventional practices, including blessing gay couples and allowing women to preach.
Church leaders say he is out of communion with the Catholic doctrine.
“Suspension means that Fr Kennedy cannot function as a priest anywhere in the world,” the church said in a statement.
The rogue Catholic will also be banned from officiating at weddings, preaching and hearing confessions.
“This revocation of faculties, the permission needed by a priest to act as a priest, means that Fr Kennedy cannot validly officiate at weddings or hear confessions in any diocese worldwide.”
Fr Kennedy’s offsider at St Mary’s, Toowoomba priest Father Terry Fitzpatrick, has also been suspended, however, his ban “is effective only in the Archdiocese of Brisbane”, the statement said.
Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Father Adrian Farrelly, signed the decree alongside Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby and said the church had taken the action reluctantly.
“Suspension of a priest is a very serious matter. However, Fr Kennedy has consistently ignored a series of formal directives, following years of informal requests from the Archbishop to conform with universal Catholic practices,” Fr Farrelly said.
“The Catholic Church has laws that regulate throughout the world the celebration of sacraments and pastoral care of people which Father Kennedy has continued to flout. These present decrees are about ensuring that Catholics within the Archdiocese of Brisbane and beyond can continue to have confidence that the sacraments they are obtaining from all priests are celebrated validly and that pastoral practices and teaching are in harmony with accepted Church directives.”
“Fr Kennedy’s beliefs and practices have separated him and those with him from the Church, local and universal, and caused confusion. The action of the Archbishop is a strong call to Fr Kennedy to return to accepted Catholic teaching and practice.”