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Melbourne Archbishop's stalker fined over breach

A woman who repeatedly stalked Archbishop Denis Hart after claiming she was sexually abused by a priest was fined $100 on Friday for breaching an interim intervention order.

Anne Furness, 45, of South Yarra, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to the charge that arose from refusing to leave Archbishop Denis Hart's office on 19 December. The incident followed Ms Furness' telephone contact with Archbishop Hart and a claim that she would join his family for Christmas lunch.

Two weeks before that, she smashed a window at Archbishop Hart's residence, causing $500 damage after staging a solo overnight protest.

The court heard Ms Furness went to Archbishop Hart's office on 19 December demanding to speak to him but was served with the order instead. After refusing to leave, she spent a night in jail.

Magistrate Peter Mealy fined Ms Furness without conviction for breaching the interim order.

The Age

Sex abuse protester smashes Melbourne archbishop's window (9/12/02)


Plans for the reconstruction of the Cathedral in Sydney's Parramatta Diocese are attracting mounting criticism from within the diocese, according to a report in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald.

As construction begins on Parramatta's new $16 million cathedral, the paper reports that a small contingent of parishioners are heading for a showdown with Bishop Peter Manning, claiming the lavish Romaldo Giurgola-designed project is in poor taste, given the area's high proportion of unemployed and working poor.

Parramatta is Australia's fastest growing diocese. Since Bishop Manning's installation in 1997, the church has spent $20 million annually just on schools, to cater for about 40,000 students. The diocese, says the bishop, is bursting at the seams.

But among those funding the church's building boom - mainly the parishioners who give at the second offering each Sunday - a growing number are demanding more say in how the church determines spending, particularly when it comes to the reconstruction of "head office" - St Patrick's.

"This new cathedral will seat 800 people, but will be filled perhaps two or three times a year," says local parishioner Kerry Gonzales, who began lobbying Bishop Manning after the diocese released a 26-page glossy brochure, calling on the faithful to contribute more than $1.2 million for just the interior accoutrements of St Patrick's. "The bulk of the time it will stand nearly empty, while homeless people sleep in the park just across the road," she says.

Sydney Morning Herald

Bishop challenged on use of diocesan property (4/12/02)
A new cathedral for Parramatta (ABC Radio Religion Report 4/12/02)
A prayer at the altar of permanency (SMH 29/10/02)
Work to start on new cathedral (12/7/02)
Diocese of Parramatta

20 Jan 2003