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Priest says democratic society does not suit 'dysfunctional' Church

The South Brisbane parish priest at the centre of the controversy over invalid baptism has described the Church as dysfunctional, meaning that it has trouble relating to democracy because it is not a democracy itself.

Fr Peter Kennedy told the Courier-Mail that the debate prompted by the controversy is "not a bad thing".

St Mary's had been using alternative words as part of its baptism services over the past decade, but agreed to return to the traditional words two months ago. The baptisms were ruled invalid because they included the "inclusive" formula "Creator, Liberator and Sustainer", rather than the mandatory "Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

Fr Kennedy quoted Archbishop John Batherby's nine-point vision for the archdiocese that includes the parish liturgy becoming "more vibrant, meaningful and inclusive" and parishes being "welcoming, inclusive communities to which people are drawn and have a strong sense of belonging".

"You couldn't describe St Mary's better," Fr Kennedy said.

Fr Kennedy said Archbishop Bathersby had challenged him to show that St Mary's was in communion with the archdiocese.

He suggested that Archbishop Bathersby is failing to read the signs of the times.

"The Archbishop is going around all the parishes praying for vocations for religious life," Fr Kennedy said.

"It's like praying for rain during an El Nino pattern."

Outspoken priest blasts church as dysfunctional (The Courier Mail 2/12/04)

Archdiocese of Brisbane
Brisbane Archbishop comments on baptism words controversy (CathNews 1/12/04)
Archbishop makes stand (The Courier Mail 1/12/04)
Archbishop John Bathersby: Mystery of true words important (Courier-Mail 30/11/04)
Brisbane church on notice over unconventional baptisms (ABC News 30/11/04)
Perspectives: Blessed shame (Courier-Mail 29/11/04)

Brisbane Tribunal vicar comments on invalid baptisms (CathNews 25/11/04)
Kate Mannix: The Catholic Church operates a medieval system of accountability (Online Opinion/Online Catholics 1/12/04)
Parishioners to be re-baptised after 'invalid' service (ABC Radio PM 24/11/04)
Toe the line, church tells priest (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 24/11/04)
Australian bishop rebukes priests for invalid baptisms (Catholic World News 23/11/04)
Non-traditional baptisms ruled invalid (The Courier Mail 24/11/04)
Brisbane Archbishop stops "inclusive" baptism (CathNews 23/11/04)
Church rebuked for 'new' baptism (The Courier Mail 23/11/04)
Bathersby censures St Mary's Church (Online Catholics 13/10/04)
Catholic Parish of South Brisbane
Vatican Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum

2 Dec 2004