The Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Most Rev John Bathersby DD, has suspended Fr Peter Kennedy from all priestly activities via a decree delivered to Fr Kennedy earlier this week.
The Archbishop has imposed this serious penalty in response to Fr Kennedy’s ignoring official warnings to cease his involvement with the group known as St Mary’s in Exile’. Suspension means that Fr Kennedy cannot function as a priest anywhere in the world.
In addition to this, the Archbishop revoked the faculties of Fr Kennedy to officiate at weddings, preach and hear confessions. This revocation of faculties, the permission needed by a priest to act as a priest, means that Fr Kennedy cannot validly officiate at weddings or hear confessions in any diocese worldwide.
Archbishop Bathersby will also revoke the faculties of Toowoomba priest Fr Terry Fitzpatrick who works with Fr Kennedy. Fr Fitzpatrick’s loss of faculties is effective only in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Fr Adrian Farrelly, who also signed the decree, said to take this action against Fr Kennedy in this way was something the Archbishop did not enjoy doing.
“Suspension of a priest is a very serious matter. However, Fr Kennedy has consistently ignored a series of formal directives, following years of informal requests from the Archbishop to conform with universal Catholic practices.
“The Catholic Church has laws that regulate throughout the world the celebration of sacraments and pastoral care of people which Father Kennedy has continued to flout. These present decrees are about ensuring that Catholics within the Archdiocese of Brisbane and beyond can continue to have confidence that the sacraments they are obtaining from all priests are celebrated validly and that pastoral practices and teaching are in harmony with accepted Church directives.
“Fr Kennedy’s beliefs and practices have separated him and those with him from the Church, local and universal, and caused confusion. The action of the Archbishop is a strong call to Fr Kennedy to return to accepted Catholic teaching and practice,” Fr Farrelly said.
Released by The Catholic Communications Office
June 5, 2009