Future of St Mary’s South Brisbane Church in doubt

Is it just us, or is a 1 M statue (about 3 feet) not a “small statue”? Amazing what the post-Vatican II Popes will tolerate before they do something. NFTU

(couriermail.com.au) A SMALL statue of a monk praying might have finally provided the Catholic Church with the ammunition it wants to shut down a controversial Brisbane parish.

A member of St Mary’s South Brisbane Church who contacted The Courier-Mail yesterday said it was understood Archbishop John Bathersby was weighing up the future of the church, after complaints were forwarded to him from The Vatican.

“A very right-wing parishioner came and was offended by some of the artwork in the church, including some indigenous art, and an image of a praying monk which they mistook as a Buddha,” the parishioner said.

“That person took photos and sent them to Rome and Rome wrote to the bishop.”

Run by Father Peter Kennedy, the vibrant and strong church community of St Mary’s – where women are allowed to preach and homosexual couples can have their relationships blessed – has long been a thorn in the conservative Catholic Church’s side.

In 2004, claims that incorrect language was being used during baptism were upheld and hundreds of baptisms conducted at St Mary’s were ruled invalid by Archbishop Bathersby.

But each weekend up to 700 people attend services, making it one of the most popular churches in Brisbane.

Fr Kennedy – who has headed up the St Mary’s ministry for nearly 28 years – said he was unable to comment until he’d heard further from Archbishop Bathersby.

In a written statement, Archbishop Bathersby confirmed he had received communiques from The Vatican about St Mary’s and that they included complaints about an alleged Buddhist statue in the church’s sanctuary and unorthodox masses being conducted.

He said that since speaking with Fr Kennedy, he had received many letters from parishioners concerned that the church might be closed.

He had responded by saying “the key question is whether St Mary’s is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church or not”.

This was something he had previously raised with the church’s community and “nothing has really changed since then”.

The church member said the little statue – which was about 1m high – had since been taken out of the church by a disgruntled person and smashed.