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Bishop challenged on use of diocesan property

Bishop Kevin Manning of the Sydney Diocese of Parramatta has been challenged to release all details of a property deal for the proposed Campion College, which is intended to become a private Catholic university.

A parishioner has written to the bishop alleging a lack of information and consultation with priests and parishioners about the diocese's role in university's funding.

"Let me assure you that my advisers are men who consider matters prudently and in depth," Manning wrote to the parishioner while defending the arrangement last September.

The Campion Foundation, chaired by Queensland businessman James G. Power, is leasing a former 4ha seminary from the Parramatta diocese. The diocese agreed to buy the property at Old Toongabbie near Parramatta from the Marist Fathers for what is said to be $1 million in 2000.

Campion executive director Karl Schmude said Bishop Manning is the appropriate person to answer questions on the deal.

"But it is my clear understanding that the site was sold by the Marist Fathers to the diocese with the definite intention that it would continue to be used for religious and educational purposes," Mr Schmude said.

Mr Schmude earlier said the foundation would refurbish the former seminary, now occupied by a small group of Franciscan clergy. It hopes to raise about $1.5 million by late next year.

The Australian (payment required)

Diocese of Parramatta

4 Dec 2002