Priest succumbs to skateboarder taunts

The Melbourne archdiocese has apologised for offensive and racist remarks by the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral who swore at youths who taunted him after he attempted to stop them skateboarding in front of the cathedral.

Skynews reports that a racist outburst, caught on camera and posted on video website YouTube, shows the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, Very Rev Geoff Baron, confronting a group of youths riding skateboards on the church property.

He tells them to leave, but as they taunt him, his demands become more abusive.

The amateur footage shows Rev Baron delivering an angry tirade of racist comments, the ABC reports.

"Move off the property you (expletive) fool. Move!" he says in the video.

"You're the foreigner there - look at the slitty eyes, black hair."

Another remark, "go back to where you come from", drew a heated response from community leaders.

Rev Baron angrily told the teenagers to stop skating on the church's property.

A woman stepped in to diffused the abusive tirade, saying she would contact police if the skating group continued to trespass.

Joe Tucci from the Australian Childhood Foundation says the remarks were offensive and the Church should arrange anger management and counselling.

Vicar General of the Melbourne archdiocese, Msgr Les Tomlinson has apologised unreservedly for the remarks made by the priest.

But he added that Rev Baron's outburst was justified because he was provoked.

"If any human being is put under siege like that, they may well react in a way they wouldn't do," he told the ABC.

"Could you imagine yourself being subjected to the abuse and the pushing that he was subjected to and be confident that you yourself would not react?"

Church apologises (Skynews, 29/7/07)
Red-faced church sorry for blue dean (The Age, 30/7/07)
Catholic priest slammed for racist outburst (The Age, 30/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
"Priest kickout" - Youtube video
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne | St Patrick's Cathedral

30 Jul 2007