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Brisbane's St Mary's sent into exile by the Catholic Church hierarchy

The Socialist Alliance's Sam Watson (right) with Fr Peter Kennedy

By Dave Riley

While bought up a Catholic I gave the Church and all religion the flick decades ago. But since I was a exiting soul in the aftermath of Second Vatican Council I've always been impressed with those people, many of them ex priests, nuns and brothers as well as gay men and lesbians -- who left with me and who later shared the same picket line in life.

But the long term consequences of the Council was a radical edge that consolidated as Liberation Theology.

You cannot be engaged with the politics of Latin America these last 30 years without learning to respect the intellectual, political platform and ethical force that makes up this radical doctrine. An example of this is dedicated Liberation Theology supporter and Dominican Friar , Frei Betto -- who is a supporter of Fidel Castro .

Betto wrote a book in collaborated with Castro -- Fidel & Religion: Conversations with Frei Betto on Marxism & Liberation Theology -- which details Castro's views on Christianity and is one of the most inspiring books you could read. So in a very reason sense what used to be called the 'Christian/Marxist dialogue' is in many instances a day to day partnership especially across Latin America and in the Philippines.

In the Philippines, the Australian priest, Columban Brian Gore, has had such a political profile there that we socialist activists have organised meetings for him back here in Australia on a few occasions. In Brisbane Resistance has organised massive campus meetings for him.

More recently my experience in the Socialist Alliance is that Christians , Buddhists , Moslems and Marxists can coexist as members under the one socialist banner coalesced by a regime of mutual respect and comradeship.

So today's report that St Mary's parish in South Brisbane will be sent into exile by the Catholic Church hierarchy comes as no surprize. The present pope, Benedict, seems to be to the right of Artilla the Hun.

How much of a Liberation Theologist St Mary's parish priest, Father Peter Kennedy, is, I don't know, but his parish is the Real McCoy.

Sending it "into exile" ( see report here) has been a long standing option -- so long as the Church kept the prime real estate worth millions.The commitment by the QLD TLC suggests how much iconic community engagement with local social issues St Mary's has achieved over the past 20 years.

Fr Peter Kennedy is moved aside while the church no doubt hopes he retires soon enough and stops being an ethical thorn in its side.

The complication is that while the parish can survive what will happen with funding for its community reach out program -- MICA -- which organizes Catholics and other Christians from across Brisbane in street based services for the homeless, visiting Murris, drug addicts and the like across inner city Brisbane.

The irony is that this is primarily orchestrated as a theory/theological dispute without a moments recourse to what the activism of the parish achieves.

Reminds me of disputes on the far left...

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