Kennett defends Adelaide vicar general Cappo

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has backed the appointment of the Adelaide archdiocese Vicar-General to a $100,000-a-year, taxpayer-funded job, saying the move was one of hope and presented no conflict of the separation of church and state.

The Australian reports that despite criticism from state and federal Liberals, Mr Kennett - an outspoken advocate for the mentally ill - said the appointment of Msgr David Cappo was good news for the mentally ill and the socially disadvantaged.

Premier Mike Rann appointed Msgr David Cappo - the second-highest-ranking Catholic in South Australia - to the position of Commissioner for Social Inclusion earlier this month. Msgr Cappo has kept his full-time role as Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Msgr Cappo has, since 2003, been on the board of national depression initiative BeyondBlue, which is chaired by Mr Kennett.

"Clearly this is an unusual appointment but it's only been made because David Cappo has proved to be so well connected to some of the social issues that cause us concern and which, with due respect, politicians haven't handled very well over the last 30 and 40 years," Mr Kennett said.

Msgr Cappo accepted an unprecedented role last year as member of the executive committee of state cabinet, along with mining tycoon Robert Champion de Crespigny - the first non-elected representatives in the inner sanctums of government decision-making in Australia.

Mr Kennett praised Mr Rann's commitment to making a change in mental health. "I see this appointment as utilising a very well-qualified person who is concerned with the soul rather than the politics of the issue to actually make a difference," Mr Kennett said.

Priest OK by Kennett (The Australian 15/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Adelaide
Government of South Australia
Beyond Blue | Board of Directors

Priest's job "no threat" to separation of powers (CathNews 5/5/06)
Support for Adelaide Vicar General's new Govt role (CathNews 2/5/06)
MP apologises to 'harlot' church leaders (CathNews 2/2/06)

Frank Devine: Blurring of the separation of state in the city of churches (The Australian 12/5/06)
Cappo pledges action, passion (Sunday Mail 7/5/06)
Michelle Wiese Bockmann: Priest v the pollies (The Australian 6/5/06)
Priest's job 'no threat' to separation of powers (The Australian 5/5/06)
Unholy row over church role in state (The Advertiser 4/5/06)
Priest 'wrong to take state job' (The Australian 4/5/06)

15 May 2006