Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Pell weighs in on 'politically correct' baptisms

Cardinal George Pell has backed the Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby's firm stand against so-called renegade priests who performed "invalid" baptisms using politically correct language.

In what the Sydney Morning Herald describes as the "Catholic equivalent of the culture wars", Archbishop John Bathersby has questioned whether parishes that defy orthodoxy on baptisms should remain in the Catholic Church and has decided to take the dispute to the Vatican.

Archbishop Bathersby warned liberal South Brisbane cleric Peter Kennedy "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" not "Creator, Liberator and Sustainer" was the correct scriptural formula after a grandparent complained about a bogus baptism.

Hundreds of babies and some adults baptised in the name of the Creator, Liberator and Sustainer at St Mary's over the past decade may be called for rebaptism, but Fr Kennedy has now agreed to return to the orthodox formula. "Rome would be aware of the situation in Brisbane and possibly taking a lively interest in it. I think it's right that I report to Rome," Archbishop Bathersby told The Australian last night.

The Herald says Cardinal Pell has supported his fellow bishop's ruling against such "radical" changes to the sacrament of baptism as "theologically correct".

He told believers and non-believers alike that Jesus was a man -- although God was neither man nor woman but spiritual. "I would not comment specifically but I strongly support what Archbishop Bathersby is doing in Brisbane to try to regularise an irregular situation."

"People come to the Catholic Church believing that they are going to receive a Catholic (baptism) ceremony based on Catholic doctrine.

"It would be wrong for them to be misled on that and there's no doubt that the Archbishop of Brisbane's theology is correct."

Cardinal Pell agreed the baptisms might need to be performed again.

"Those words that were allegedly used, that would constitute invalidity -- there's a presumption that if it's invalid that they would have to be rebaptised.

"In every church and especially in the Catholic Church there are boundaries."

Pell backs war on 'politically correct' baptisms (The Australian 3/12/04)

Archdiocese of Brisbane
Catholic Parish of South Brisbane
Vatican Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum

Priest says democratic society does not suit 'dysfunctional' Church (CathNews 2/12/04)
Outspoken priest blasts church as dysfunctional (The Courier Mail 2/12/04)


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)
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)

Dissident congregation stands by baptism sacrament (ABC News 1/12/04)
Baptism row raises more questions (Catholic Leader 5/12/04)
Australian pastor raps "dysfunctional" Church (Catholic World News 2/12/04)

3 Dec 2004