The Catholic Church could be gearing up for a gay battle down under in Australia.
Bishop of Brisbane John Bathersby gave gay-inclusive church St Mary’s in South Brisbane until December to fall in line behind the Vatican, which doesn’t coddle queers, or face some stiff penalties.
But St. Mary’s priest, Peter Kennedy, doesn’t seem to be budging…
There are vigilantes who’ve come into our church and written to Rome, and Rome has put pressure on John Bathersby. Bullies never have enough of bullying, and the Vatican is a bully. Many communities are not sticking precisely to the rules of liturgy. Our problem is that we are a public community. The archbishop has known what we’ve been doing for all these years. But his model of governance is hierarchical, and that’s his problem — the church’s governance is hierarchical.
Kennedy’s not alone in opposing the Church’s top down approach.
Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Pat Power expressed his “sympathy” for St. Mary’s, and said the congregation’s quite right in offering space to alienated worshipers:
At times there are a lot of people who can be disillusioned, and it is good if there is a place where they can feel at home.
I would have sympathy for a parish which is reaching out to gay people. So often they feel no one wants to know them. But a bishop has difficulty with those things. I recognize their desire to be part of the Church.
If Bathersby ends up siding with the Vatican, then St. Mary’s could face excommunication.