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St Mary's quite contrary

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Neil Ormerod |  25 March 2009

St Mary's - flickr image by southbrisbaneIt is now over 40 years since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. Those of us who lived through its years can attest to the immediate impact it had on our lives. Changes in liturgical and sacramental practice spread through the church like wild fire.

For some it was liberating, for some aggravating and for all disorienting. We would often hear appeals to the 'spirit of the Council' as justification for the wide variety of changes we faced. Few who lived though that period would doubt the epochal significance of the Council.

Yet increasingly the significance of the changes produced by the council has been subject to debate. On one side there is the Bologna school of church history which emphasises the 'rupture' of the council. On the other side is a more official interpretation which so emphasises continuity as to rule out any possibility of discontinuity. John Paul II said in 2000 that 'to read the council as if it marked a break with the past ... is decidedly unacceptable'.

It is not difficult to see these divergent positions in operation in the Australian Church. We need only witness the recent events in the St Mary's parish in South Brisbane. While Archbishop John Bathersby calls the parish to return full communion with the archdiocese, the people of the parish proclaim that it is a 'Vatican II parish'.

At the core of that conflict lies an understanding of the significance of the Council, the changes it introduced into Church life, and the limits of those changes. Indeed it is very difficult to conceive of such a conflict arising prior to the event of the Council. The solidity of the pre-Vatican II Church bordered on immobility.

Change when it was introduced was rapid and generally poorly handled. Many of the changes went beyond those envisaged by the Council. Any reading of the document on the liturgy makes it clear that the council Fathers expected Latin to continue as a liturgical language, yet in quick time it was replaced by the vernacular.

The process of change created an expectation of further change in a range of issues: birth control, ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, women in ministry and so on. Are there limits to such change? Much energy from the Vatican since the Council has been expended in clarifying the boundaries of change, on what is acceptable and what is beyond the pale.

It has been reported that Fr Peter Kennedy, parish priest of St Mary's Parish, has publicly called into question the divinity of Jesus. Such a 'change' is not just something the bishops of Vatican II didn't get around to suggesting, it is something they would have rejected root and branch as a violation of the very meaning of Christianity.

Fr Kennedy is of course entitled to believe what he likes, but he is not entitled to give it the name 'Catholic' or to suggest that those who disagree are just being conservative or not operating in the 'spirit of Vatican II'.

Of course Vatican II said many things, including statements on the role of the Bishop, such as:

Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith.

I can feel nothing but empathy for Archbishop John Bathersby, a truly decent and generous person, who now finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place. If he acts to remove Fr Kennedy he will be attacked as a conservative or a puppet of the Vatican; if he fails to act he knows he will not be fulfilling his responsibility as a bishop to teach 'the faith they must believe'. He deserves better than this.

By all accounts the parish of St Mary's has a strong record in the area of social justice and inclusion. It is hard to see why this can only be maintained with liturgical anomalies and doctrinal errors. Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement managed to marry strong social activism with a conservative religious life.

The parish attracts large numbers of parishioners, but then so does Hillsong. In the end the issue is whether the parish is still operating as a Catholic parish. The responsibility to decide in this matter lies with the bishop, for that Catholic identity is not the preserve of any single parish.

There is some irony that Fr Kennedy is now appealing to Rome, to a higher level Church authority given his disregard of the local bishop. It is unlikely to provide a different decision.


Neil OrmerodDr Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology, is Director of the Institute of Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Australian Catholic University, Mount St Mary Campus. 

 



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If, and I stress if, Father Kennedy has publicly questioned the divinity of Jesus then my sympathies are with the bishop. The author weakens his arguments by not going to the source and asking the question directly, thereby avoiding speculation.

Bill Farrelly 25 March 2009

Professor Ormerod's are the most balanced and wise comments I have yet seen on the South Brisbane affair. One can understand angry reactions to the activities of self-appointed vigilantes (I think the admirable Bishop Morris speaks of
'temple priests') but Father Kennedy's unwillingness to accept a mediation process is disappointing. Of course, if he denies central Catholic beliefs, there may be little room for negotiation, as Neil Ormerod's observations suggest.

Having had the privilege of working closely with Archbishop Bathersby for several years in the social justice area (and he is as fully committed to Catholic Social Teaching as anyone in South Brisbane), I fully endorse the Professor's words of praise for him.

Michael Costigan 25 March 2009

The Ormerod piece deserve high marks for rhetoric but not for anything else. From 'it has been reported that ..', it goes to 'doctrinal errors', as a given. So too, parishioner support is likened to Hillsong.

Ormerod judges without double-checking anything in his own account; he also fails to discover the theological underpinnings of the 'liturgical anomalies', much less how they connect with people in the grip of the modern day error of being 'spiritual but not religious"'. Eureka disappoints in publishing this piece.

jim marshall 25 March 2009

Is this the best that a theologian can do? Arguments based on hearsay (denying the divinity of Christ), odious comparisons (Hillsong is hardly committed to social justice) and a denigration of Fr Kennedy's appeal rights?

Professor Ormerod is right in one thing; the appeal will achieve nothing because it cannot. Rome was involved in the original decision and can hardly change its mind.

When big guns like the professor from the conservative side of the church come forward like this, what we are seeing is another stage in the process of hanging Fr Kennedy out to dry. The message is very clear - never never question authority.

Warwick 25 March 2009

Michael's comment refers to mediation 'Father Kennedy's unwillingness to accept a mediation process'.

Mediation is a process which is sought and agreed to by both parties to a dispute, not something that is imposed by the stronger on the weaker. In true mediation, the mediator is chosen by both parties after the agreement to seek mediation, not by one before any agreement.

Whatever its merits or otherwise, the process initiated by Archbishop Bathersby and said to have been rejected by Fr Kennedy is not mediation.

Warwick 25 March 2009

Peter Kennedy's rejection of the divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the authority of the pope and bishops are all a matter of public record. One only has to read the full transcripts of the Encounter special about SMSB on Radio National or his blog. The Eucharistic prayer composed by the St Mary's parish is also available to any who attend worship there and they can read its explict rejection of communion by leaving out reference to the bishop, pope and local diocese. The St Mary's website includes promotions for books and publishes letters of support that question fundamental elments of Christian and Catholic teaching and practice. It's public knowledge available without the aid of "spies".

What has been exposed through the St Mary's issue is how badly needed is formation in basic theology and the documents of Vatican II. I think this has been one of the good things to come out of the conflict. So much of what SMSB claims is Vatican II is opposit to what is taught in the documents of the Council which explicate Catholic faith.

Thanks for the balanced commentary Prof Ormerod.

Michael 25 March 2009

Thank you Neil for a carefully considered article focussing upon the South Brisbane problem. While many empathise with the archbishop some sympathy remains with the parish priest and his cry that Jesus too confronted church authority.

At the core of the debate, however, I believe is the long standing issue of democracy. Despite cosmetic changes that invite community involvement the Church retains an autocratic structure within an almost universal preference for democratic government.

If anything is to be gained from this sad event I hope that the Australian church sets in motion a study of this wider issue.

Gerald 25 March 2009

The irony is more in Professor Ormerod's comment re the appeal to Rome. Fr Kennedy is both Christian and Catholic but he also seems to understand the Church's process. One wonders whether Love will ever supersede Authority in the Church of Rome!

Jim 25 March 2009

Ormerod's article does not address the issue of procedure in this debate. The archbishop's refusal to ever visit the parish ('for fear of giving them support') implies a prior judgement being made, and willingness to heed hostile witnesses without opportunity given for discussion. The scandal created is doing profound damage to the image of the Church. Dialogue is more important than favouring one side against the other. The Gospel of forgiveness is in danger of being lost behind the shouting and accusations of heresy.

Constant Mews 25 March 2009

I appreciate your comments and suggest that Father Kennedy should no longer be recognised as a Catholic priest if he will not conform to the General Instructions to the Roman Missal or the instructions of his superiors.

Frank Ryan 25 March 2009

On ABC TV's Q&A program recently, Fr Kennedy was on the panel. A lady asked him if he thought Jesus was God and he replied "you see, Jesus was a Jew, and for a Jew to say they were God would be utter blasphemy". The lady said, "but Jesus said he was God" and Kennedy replied, "the gospels were written many years after Jesus, and for a Jew to say that they were God would be blasphemy. The first three gospels say nothing about Jesus saying God."

Whilst i totally disagree with his simplistic and confused statement, i think it is perfectly reasonable to draw the conclusion that he is questioning Jesus' divinity.

Paul 25 March 2009

Fr Kennedy did not found St Mary's. The whole community at St Mary's is using a building built by others. Those who built the building and those who now use it are presumably part of the same historical community; the Catholic Church.

It is this fact that allows the current community to use the building. Membership of any organisation however is not a matter of self proclamation. Continuing membership of any organisation is dependent upon adherence to the constitution of the organisation and acceptance of the ruling of legitimate authority within the organisation. If such acceptance is absent the organisation has a perfect right to discipline those who claim to represent it. Longevity in office, in and of itself, does not bring authority. Archbishop Bathersby is the legitimate authority in the Catholic Church in Brisbane.

John Francis Collins 25 March 2009

As I read it, Fr Kennedy and his congregation are trying to create a truly Christ-like community in Catholic church.

They are acting in a truly radical fashion, as did Jesus, when he witnessed anomaly between the temple and the daily lives of the people.

Jennifer Raper 25 March 2009

Well done Fr Kennedy for “having a go”, it is only through courageous stands such as this that the true Spirit of Christ will eventually break through and become the catholic church focus. Sadly it may take generations.

I feel for Archbishop Battersby too – I believe he is a good man trying to walk a tightrope, and forced into a position through a (however well intentioned) misguided conservative fringe. The fact that Rome becomes involved troubles me greatly.

Too much energy is wasted on arguing who is right and who is wrong, who has the power and who has to submit. Jesus is an example to follow he attracted people by his loving, compassionate, inclusive behaviour he didn’t rule over people.

Like many others, I personally, after 45 years of very active involvement in the Church at Archdiocesan, State, Parish & “Small Group Community” levels in roles such administration, education, spirituality, social justice, ecumenism etc, have given up on the Institutional Church. There is too much to do in attempting to follow Jesus, we can’t be distracted by inward focused power struggles.
Whilst the Australian institutional church has around 86% of its members non-practising, many of them are like me, meeting in small groups to celebrate the Eucharist, spending our time attempting to follow the Spirit of Christ by reaching out to the disadvantaged, underprivileged and socially outcast members of our society.

A few hundred of us gather together on Good Friday to reflect on the suffering Christ in today’s world. We still remain catholic in orientation and spirit, but choose (like the St Mary’s community), to focus on proclaiming the kingdom and leave the inward focussed arguing to others.
Fr Kennedy’s work is inspirational.

David 25 March 2009

Congratulations, Prof Ormerod and Eureka Street, on a fine article. The one thing that St Mary's, South Brisbane, is definitely NOT is a "Vatican II parish". The Fathers of Vatican II would be horrified by the doctrinal and liturgical abuses there. All too frequently, the "spirit" of Vatican II is invoked to nullify the documents of Vatican II. It is a rare case of the spirit kills and the letter gives life.

Sylvester 25 March 2009

Thank you, Neil, for this excellent and well-balanced comment. I agree with your comment about Archbishop Bathersby, and I believe, from my own comparatively brief time as a St Mary's parishioner, that he has been a truly pastoral leader of the local church with regard to that community. I hope that he will not be demonised over this, as I hope the St Mary's community will not be demonised either. Isn't it time we all stopped labeling and started loving?

Joan Seymour 25 March 2009

A gentle reasoned article which helps cool this sometimes heated debate.

Jesus is Lord 25 March 2009

According to Paul, Fr Kennedy, when asked if he thought Jesus was God, replied "you see, Jesus was a Jew, and for a Jew to say they were God would be utter blasphemy". When the questioner said, "but Jesus said he was God", Kennedy is alleged to have replied, "the gospels were written many years after Jesus, and for a Jew to say that they were God would be blasphemy. The first three gospels say nothing about Jesus saying God."

Paul, which of Fr Kennedy's responses do you suggest is in error? Or are they simply the responses that you would expect from someone who denied the divinity of Christ and you've made the leap of presumption?

Warwick 25 March 2009

"Beware of trying to make the church in one's own image".

These words of caution were spoken by our theology professor - who many would regard as being on the liberal end of the spectrum - to us, in the main, liberal post graduate students.

In this ongoing debate over St Mary's these words of advice are particularly apt.

Rich 25 March 2009

I despair at our Bishops' inability to adjust to the various pressing needs in the Australian church - i wrote to them all in some detail recently - Archbishop Bathersby's reply was a thoughtful & generous one. I am in Father Kennedy's left of centre - However he has gone out of his depth in attracting radicals who would prefer to damage the church rather than modify it. His Q&A performance has convinced me that he has now moved in to that radical group

BRIAN.MARTIN 25 March 2009

Concerning the divine identity of Jesus. Contemporary theologians are more inclined to see the christological statements as being made by the Church in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the experience of the Resurrected Christ retrojected back into the story of Jesus. The self-identity of Jesus is pure speculation, historically speaking.

I personally like how Marcus Borg explains it in The Meaning of Jesus. I don't have the quote on me so I'll paraphrase; To view these claims: "I am the Way the Truth and the Life", "In the beginning was the Logos", "I am", et al., as the claims of Jesus eliminates the power of them, that is that there is more power in the claims as the experience of the Church (which is still experienced) rather than the rantings of a first century Palastinian peasant.

Joshua 25 March 2009

I have no doubt that Bishop Bathersby is genuinely struggling with this issue. However, let us ask ourselves why this particular church has a congregation of 1500, most of whom have been attending regularly for many years, while countless other parishes throughout Australia are witnessing huge decreases in Mass attendance?

I believe it is because this particular community has struck a chord with the fundamental teaching of Vatican II: that all the baptised have inherited the priestly call to ministry directly from Jesus Christ.

Sadly, too often clergy fear the rise of lay people offering their gifts to the Church which results in good people feeling rejected and turning away from their Church. Rejection seems to be an occurring theme: rejection of gay and lesbian people, rejection of women clergy, rejection of married priests, rejection of divorced people, rejection of those who have had an abortion, etc.

How many people refuse today to go to Mass because they feel excluded, even in the use of liturgical language? How hurtful women must feel who have a calling towards the priesthood, only to have been told by Pope John Paul II that the issue cannot even be discussed?

I do not agree with all of Peter Kennedy’s statements, yet I applaud the inclusiveness he has achieved within his community. This community has opened their arms to the homeless and mentally ill in their celebrations, they commit money and time to the marginalised in their city, they give women a more prominent role within the liturgy, they recognise the wisdom within their congregation by allowing people to share that wisdom through homilies. In other words, the liturgy comes from within the people and is part of the people, rather than a distant concept forced on the people. A priest who weeps with and for his community, who encourages all and is open to all, surely cannot be anything else but Christ-like?

Emmy Silvius 25 March 2009

Concern for social justice might well accompany the search for meaningful liturgies and formulations of mysteries that many generations of believers have been moved to interpret in their own terms, often in visual art and poetry. But do the people at St Mary's really say that social awareness requires one to have practices that Ormerod describes gratuitously as "liturgical anomalies and doctrinal errors"?

Dorothy Day herself did combine (for what the terms are worth) a conservative devotional life with a radical political and social concern, but using her authority in such a tendentious context is an affront to her memory.

My own experience of St Mary's is of a community marked by considerable reverence and respect; it deserves better than deplorable processes and such a belittling heading as "St Mary's quite contrary".

MESSMATE CHRIS 25 March 2009

There has been much media hype relating to this issue as well as arguments put by both sides to justify their position.

As a person who has experienced St Mary's welcoming inclusive nature of it's Liturgy of the Mass while at the same time looking at Benedict's approach to the Lefebvrist clergy, I ask, why can't we have the specifics of St Mary's departure from its 'union with the Catholic Church' stated in an open forum like this?

When the reasons are not stated openly the questioner is not satisfied.

nick agocs 25 March 2009

Dr Ormerod

Your leaps of logic in this article are unfortunate.

You quote "It has been reported that Fr Peter Kennedy, parish priest of St Mary's Parish, has publicly called into question the divinity of Jesus".
You then go on to write as if that such report is true and that Kennedy suggests this is Catholic teaching.

I have heard such reports in various media. I have also heard many speeches, interviews and sermons by Kennedy, and in none of these does he make any such statement.

Mike Willis 25 March 2009

Agree totally. I even understand that Fr Kennedy has doubts about life hereafter - which changed my view of him being simply a progressive modern catholic priest. As to the divinity of Christ, that was settled eons ago, though I would not want to bring that overused word 'heresy' as a label into discussions.

Jim Potts 25 March 2009

There are plenty of Catholic priests and parishes around Australia that are commendably strong on social justice issues and causes, putting words into deeds, but who do not have the substitutes for the Paul VI Mass that Fr Kennedy and St Mary's parish stage. That alone 'de-Catholicises' the parish from the rest of the Church let alone the repetition of old third century heresies. Top marks to Dr. Ormerod for a balanced and sensible article.

I do wonder however if Eureka Street would have published such an article if Peter Kennedy was a Sydney priest and the bishop involved was Cardinal Pell?

PAUL STUART 25 March 2009

Ironically, Peter Kennedy and his parish are doing to the property of St. Mary's and Catholic generations who built it, what Aboriginals complain white Europeans did to their land (Australia). Fr Kennedy & Co have taken over a Catholic parish - over time - and transformed it not necessarily into something bad but certainly something not Catholic and not what the original inhabitants established or would ever sanction.

John Mac 25 March 2009

All of us Catholics, ordained & laity, experience disappointments with our Ordinaries & the Vatican from time to time.

Peter Kennedy has been relying too much on the advice of some senior clergy of the Brisbane archdiocese.

Sadly they seem to have abandoned him & left him marginalized.

As a senior priest in the Brisbane archdiocese I'd encourage Peter to make peace with his Ordinary. That is the only way forward at South Brisbane.

Joe Duffy 25 March 2009

Father Kennedy took a vow of obedience. On the face of things, obedient Father Kennedy is not. It's bad enough having some Catholic laity believe they have a right to cherry pick parts of Catholic Church teaching and dogma they like and reject the rest but it's another matter altogether when a member of the clergy falls into the same snare.

Father Kennedy should accept the direction of Archbishop Bathersby in all humility forthwith before he causes any more damage to himself and the misguided laity he claims to champion.

Noel Hocking 25 March 2009

Your main issue with Peter Kennedy seems to be that he "publicly called into question the divinity of Jesus". You then, as John Bathersby has, put St Marys in the same category as Hillsong.

Hillsong Church does believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and the Trinity.

Gerard 25 March 2009

Having re-read this article a number of times I must express my unease.
"It has been reported that Fr Peter Kennedy ...called into question the divinity of Jesus" - has he or hasn't he?

This implied indirect attack on Fr Kennedy disturbs me.

nick agocs 25 March 2009

If this all about the use of the building - the bishop would be better representing Christ by allowing to what he views as a post-Catholic congregation worship there than rendering it empty and redundant.

I'm presently living in London where there are many churches now transformed into bourgeois restaurants and art galleries. Is that what the original Catholic community built St Mary's for?

St Mary's is a commuter church, there are few local parishioners to service. The Bishop if victorious will "destroy the village to save it" ... unless there's a real estate agenda operating somewhere, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Ciaron O'Reilly 26 March 2009

Thanks for the opportunity to engage in the discussion. I found the link on the Catholica website.

To try and express how I feel about the larger debates within the Australian Catholic Church and beyond, I couldn't have written a better or more comprehensive entry than that of Emmy Silvius 25-Mar-2009. If readers have a minute may I recommend rereading Emmy's excellent contribution.

On Saturday I will be attending the discussion of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson's book Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus. Bishop Robinson is 'under fire' from the ACBC via Rome. I know Robinson, he is a very good man too. What is the problem that so many good smart and scholarly men have become so maligned?
Peace. Jane

Jane 26 March 2009

The crux of the issue can be located in the words 'the faith they must believe'. If we unpack this short sentence we find three key words 'faith' 'must' and 'believe'.

Firstly, faith arises proportionately with the lack of belief. The more one actually believes in the 'divinity of Jesus', the less one needs for faith because Jesus is truly believed to be a direct manifestation of the divine. Belief is not faith, but rather the index of truth - one simply believes. Faith supplements a certain degree of the loss of belief. Modern science, with the aid of the church, have created a need for faith.

Now to the last word, 'must'. You cannot coerce belief, but you can induce the desire and need for faith. You do this by removing the ability for people to believe. The best way to do this is to create a church out of step with the constantly changing world in which people live. Is Father Kennedy doing this or is the Pope? The world is always changing, so is the church (Vatican Council largely reflects what has already occurred), it is just that it moves so slow it doesn't look like it.

david akenson 26 March 2009

I am on the side of Bishop Battersby. On critism is that he did not act earlier.

Theo Verbeek 26 March 2009

As a member of St Mary's congregation, I feel saddened that in these debates some of Peter
Kennedy's personal beliefs are used to condemn his ministry and the St Mary's parish.
I do not always agree with Peter's views and have had fundamental disagreement with at least one of the homilies presented by laity. I still feel more at home in this parish and with its liturgy than I have in any other for many years.

As Emmy wrote on 25 March it is about inclusiveness. Catholicism has to rise above ideology and human prejudices to embrace the whole of creation. We have to have open hearts and open minds.

Stomping on Peter Kennedy will not change the fact that there is immense dissatisfaction over insitutionalised sexism, a celibate priesthood and a complete failure to understand a number of moral questions from a woman's perspective among others.

The whole controversy reminds me of an incident many years ago when I was at St Stephen's Cathedral and tried to engage a fellow parishioner on a contemporary issue as a fellow Christian. I was rebuffed curtly with 'I'm not a Christian but a Catholic.'
Are we really happy with a world view that continues to exclude and isolate?

If Archbishop Bathersby had attended just one of the masses I am sure he would have found much to approve of and embrace. The St Mary's congregation wants to be listened to, not condemned, especially on how the Catholic liturgy may become a source of love and hope to all.

Libby 26 March 2009

As a member of St Mary's congregation, I feel saddened that in these debates some of Peter Kennedy's personal beliefs are used to condemn his ministry and the St Mary's parish.
I do not always agree with Peter's views and have had fundamental disagreement with at least one of the homilies presented by laity. I still feel more at home in this parish and with its liturgy than I have in any other for many years.

As Emmy wrote on 25 March it is about inclusiveness. Catholicism has to rise above ideology and human prejudices to embrace the whole of creation. We have to have open hearts and open minds.

Stomping on Peter Kennedy will not change the fact that there is immense dissatisfaction over institutionalised sexism, a celibate priesthood and a complete failure to understand a number of moral questions from a woman's perspective among others.

The whole controversy reminds me of an incident many years ago when I was at St Stephen's Cathedral and tried to engage a fellow parishioner on a contemporary issue as a fellow Christian. I was rebuffed curtly with 'I'm not a Christian but a Catholic.'

Are we really happy with a world view that continues to exclude and isolate?

If Archbishop Bathersby had attended just one of the masses I am sure he would have found much to approve of and embrace. The St Mary's congregation wants to be listened to, not condemned, especially on how the Catholic liturgy may become a source of love and hope to all.

Libby 26 March 2009

Libby, I couldn't agree with you more. Those quick to condemn without any direct knowledge of the St Mary's experience nor a dialogue with Peter about his views are on very shaky grounds. I have learned more about the God who is with us in my years at St Mary's than I was ever able to in parishes led by those who toed the party line of a God far away and whose judgment was to be feared. An Archbishop fearful of dialogue with his people leaves me wondering. 21 April will indeed be a sad day for St Mary's and for the Church struggling to find its way in contemporary society.

Peter Crombie 27 March 2009

How ironic that Peter Kennedy will be removed at Easter.

Warwick 27 March 2009

I watched the Q&A and heard the dialogue between Peter Kennedy and the person who asked him. I agree with Peter that Jesus would have been condemned by his listeners if he had claimed to be coequal with God.As a devout Jew, Jesus would have known that Judaism teaches that no human being can claim equality with God.

I discussed this issue with my lecturer and fellow students in Christology lectures while I was doing my MA (Theology).As I recall it, the feeling was that Jesus was well aware that he had a specific mission , however his awareness of his divine nature would have developed and reached its climax in the days of the passion .He could not be truly human if he was at the same time divine - that is possessing the ultimate reality as a human being. I understand that the common view of many theologians today is that Christianity's understanding of Jesus as God was a post Resurrection realization.Therefore Peter was essentially correct but he needed to spell out in more detail what he meant.I find this whole episode to be very painful to witness.I pray that sanity prevails.

Gavin 27 March 2009

I was extremely disappointed with Neil Omerod's article on St Mary's. As a Professor of Theology, he does a great disservice to the discipline by failing to thoroughly check the claims on which he comments, by failing to acknowledge the nexus between love and power that is at the core of the debate and by failing to explore the inter-twining nature of faith, doctrine, ethics and morality that the real task of the theologian who inserts him or herself into such a painful debate as this. Neil, you are a good and well-intentioned person who has let us down quite badly. I hope that you have the grace to apologise to Peter Kennedy and, at the least, attend Mass at St Mary's before making any further comment on this issue.

Mike 28 March 2009

it seems the Jesuits have become the modern day apologists for the status quo in Rome.

what I want to know is - why aren't we hearing from the Jesuits that support Kennedy ... ask yourselfs that dear readers

Robert Speirs 29 March 2009

Thank you for a well balanced article.

For those nit-pickers who claim you are jumping to conclusions about Peter's beliefs I note the ABC Q & A, the book questioning Jesus' divinity on sale at St Mary's, and Peter's comments recently on an ABC program that there is no evidence that God exists. If he doesn't believe in God how could he believe Jesus is divine?

For those who criticise the Archbishop for never viewing a Mass there do you seriously think the temple police didn't hand a video or at least audio recording of a Mass to the Archbishop? Of course the Archbishop was fully aware of the Masses.

Jon 02 June 2009

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