Busy priest fails to administer sacrament to dying baby
The parents of a baby girl who died without receiving the Sacrament of the Sick say they will not bury her until the Archdiocese of Brisbane investigates why a priest did not make it to her bedside.
The Brisbane Sunday Times reports that seven-month-old Gerardine Nguyen died without the blessing after the priest said he could not visit her in Royal Brisbane Hospital until the next day.
It says the child's devout parents say they "felt abandoned when the chaplain did not arrive to administer last rites".
"I want to know why the priest didn't come to see my baby," said her father, Quang Nguyen of Kippa-Ring in Redcliffe. "Before my baby died, I promised I would have the answer to this question before I buried her. It is unfair."
But the priest, who cannot be named for legal reasons, says he was unaware the baby was in such a critical condition. He said the call to administer the sacrament conflicted with other duties, and the sad case was being used to try to further undermine him.
The priest has been under siege since taking control of a Brisbane community centre made famous by claims that statues were weeping blood.
Some members of the Vietnamese Catholic community have conducted a media campaign to highlight their conviction that they are being treated unfairly be the Archdiocese, which investigated and dismissed its claims that the statue weeping blood was a miracle. The Archdiocese transferred the priest caught at the centre of the conflict - Fr Joseph Liem. Reports said that the community refused to accept the ministry of another Vietnamese priest - Fr Vu Dinh Tuong.
Priest denies last blessing to baby (Sunday Mail 7/8/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Brisbane
Brisbane Vietnamese Catholics in protest against Archdiocese (CathNews 2/5/05)
Investigation says no financial fraud at Brisbane Vietnamese Centre (CathNews 16/8/04)
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Archbishop says weeping statues were fraudulent (CathNews 30/7/04)
Archbishop to announce statue probe results this morning (CathNews 29/7/04)
Brisbane miracle investigation report still weeks away (CathNews 9/7/04)
Weeping statue investigation progresses (CathNews 8/6/04)
Retired chemistry professor to examine weeping statues (CathNews 3/6/04)
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Inala priest says faith rose to the occasion (The Courier Mail 29/5/04)
Archbishop Bathersby announces weeping statue investigation (CathNews 26/5/04)
Crowds flock to see 'weeping' religious icons (CathNews 24/5/04)
Three fires in 24 hours for town (Daily Telegraph/Australian Associated Press 7/8/05)
8 Aug 2005