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Jesuit Centre denies Brennan 'war' with Pell

The Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre has sought to discredit a newspaper report that painted an allegedly inaccurate picture of a "war at arm's length" between Jesuit social justice advocate and Sydney's Cardinal George Pell.

The report, titled "Catholic Church 'driving youth out'" and written by The Australian's religious affairs writer Peter Shadbolt, was published on Friday. It used a clear difference in nuance between Brennan and Pell on primacy of conscience, to portray a situation of enmity between the two, and between Pell and the Jesuits.

Uniya director Sr Patty Fawkner said "it conflates and confuses several different issues and contains many inaccuracies".

"It takes Fr Brennan's statement out of context," she said. "[In fact] he expresses his willingness to discern, to dialogue, to understand various perspectives in the church on important issues, such as the primacy of conscience. This is not the stuff of 'deep fissure in the church' nor open criticism of Dr Pell as Peter Shadbolt would have us believe."

The response was sent yesterday as a letter to the editor of The Australian. It was not published today.

However the paper does publish a letter from one of Cardinal Pell's priests who seeks to confirm a difference of opinion between himself and the Cardinal.

The letter was from Fr Terry Purcell, parish priest of St Benedict's Broadway, one of the sites proposed to be turned over to development of the Notre Dame University Sydney campus. He contradicts Cardinal Pell's assertion that he (Fr Purcell) "was unable to clearly recall the events leading to the Notre Dame proposals for a new Catholic university".

He said: "I recall fully the events in connection with Notre Dame University. I stand by what I have said."

Letter to the Editor of The Australian (Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre 31/8/04)
Total recall (The Australian Letters 1/9/04)

Catholic Church 'driving youth out' (The Australian 27/8/04)
Pell under fire from canon law (The Australian 25/8/04)
What Do Our Students Rightly Ask of Us, the Church who are Many Parts, One Body? Frank Brennan. Sandhurst Diocese Catholic Secondary Education Conference, 13/8/2004
Frank Brennan: People's Priest (ABC TV Compass 15/8/04)

32 Sep 2004