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Melbourne priest's plea to end underworld violence

Former prison chaplain Fr Peter Norden told the congregation at Friday's funeral of underworld figure Graham "the Munster" Kinniburgh that it's time to stop the city's "senseless loss of human life".

The Age reports that his plea was in contrast to the implied threat from crime family matriarch Judy Moran in June when she declared at the funeral of her son Jason that "all will be dealt with, my darling".

Fr Norden was a long-time family friend and confidant who delivered the last rites to a dying Kinniburgh the previous weekend. Kinniburgh in turn was a lifelong friend of Judy Moran and her former husband Lewis, whose sons Jason and Mark fell victim to the city's underworld warfare.

Like the many others who paid tribute to Kinniburgh - considered one of the state's most influential gangsters - Fr Norden did not talk about his friend's criminal convictions for dishonesty, bribery, possession of firearms, resisting arrest and assaulting police.

The one-time chaplain at Pentridge Prison, said: "Real strength doesn't come from the barrel of a gun, but where men confront their difficulties and differences, when they deal with them at a personal level and when they find a way to resolve those differences and get on with one another, even if it means living with those differences."

Fr Norden told the congregation of many hundreds at Sacred Heart Church, Kew - a short walk from where Kinniburgh was gunned down outside his Belmont Avenue home - that his friend had the capacity to live with those "differences".

A coroner found that Jason Moran and Kinniburgh were present during the murder of another Melbourne gangster, Alphonse Gangitano, who was shot dead in his Templestowe home in January 1998.

Those at Kinniburgh's farewell heard about a devoted family man. He was married to Sybil for 36 years and had three children, Darren, Brent and Susie. He was late for his wedding day in 1967, telling his wife "he had to see a bloke".

From the Sacred Heart a plea to end the violence (The Age 20/12/03)

Priest pleads for end to killings (Herald-Sun 20/12/03)
Melbourne's Gangland Killings (The Age archive)
Prominent priest gave last rites to slain man">Prominent priest gave last rites to slain man (The Age 17/12/03)

22 Dec 2003