The outlines of the gathering storm around Archbishop Bathersby’s Archdiocese and Episcopate began to emerge from the wild weed garden beds. Most notable was the outrageous Parish of St.Mary’s South Brisbane.
It is important to understand that this had been a source of scandal since the time Father Bathersby had been the Spiritual Director of the troubled Banyo Seminary unhappily dedicated to the memory of the Venerable Pope Pius XII. No institution could have fallen further from its Patron’s spirit and intentions.
The goings on at South Brisbane were a commonplace around the Archdiocese and particularly among the Clergy. The Parish was officially under the pastoral care of the Parish Priest of Dutton Park, Father Jim Browne. As Father Browne put it “these people just moved in and took over the place”. “These people” were an odd mix of radical thinking , well educated smart mouthed “trendies” latched on to every fashionable “Left” cause : aboriginals, the Environment and all things claiming “Green” status, Lesbians, Homosexuals, and Radical Feminists etc. etc. Father Browne, a reserved, straight up and down faithful Priest was no match for the likes of this group. And if he ever demurred from their proposals – not that they often had contact with him – they could always point to the Senior Executives from Brisbane Catholic Education who “worshipped “there. They had not been inhibited by Archbishop Rush and the arrival of Archbishop Bathersby meant business as usual.


As the Bathersby years rolled on the crew at South Brisbane became bolder and bolder. They had as their Priest Father Peter Kennedy an odd character who came in from his Gold Coast hinterland bush retreat, where he lived his life as he wished, and came to South Brisbane at weekends to do the Priest thing together with a blow in younger Priest of Toowoomba Diocese who at some stage had fathered an illegitimate child. He had care of the child which was supported knowingly by the “congregation”. The whole set up at South Brisbane was like a Black Hole drawing in people headed for moral destruction, offering no true hope of correction, let alone salvation.
But by the second half of 1998, the South Brisbane crew, free of any effective correction became drunk with their own wayward habits. They sponsored and promoted heavily, two outrageous events as works of the South Brisbane operation – it seems false by this stage to use the word “Parish” even though some years back, Father Kennedy had been given pastoral care of the South Brisbane Parish. The first of these events took place on Saturday 15th August, 1998- the Feast of the Assumption.  The event was an Address by Dorothy McRae- McMahon who had until the end of 1997 been Director of the National Commission for Mission of the Uniting Church in Australia. In 1997 she had “come out” as a lesbian, divorcing her husband, and her account of the event obscures what happened to her four children whilst acknowledging that they are in continuing relationship with their father.
The Topic of her address was “Mission and the Church – Towards the New Millennium” The event was formally run by “Micah Inc”the Corporation set up by the South Brisbane crew to receive various Government grants to forward their ends – ensuring that the money and activities tried to avoid any Archdiocesan discipline. The event took place, scandal was given, but the course of the States’ affairs did not change.

One month later, on 16th September, 1998 the South Brisbane operation organised an event intended as a direct confrontation with, and jerk of the thumb at, the institutional Church. They invited the heretical writer Former Father Michael Morwood M.S.C. to speak about “Adult Faith in To-day’s World
Father Morwood’s writings had already been under scrutiny from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of his books banned by the then Archbishop of Melbourne George Pell. His writings are a rambling mish-mash of quasi New Age thoughts on the Church in the future, characterized by Heresies, masses of contradictions and great confusion. He is the darling of many liberals of course. Little wonder he was invited to speak at South Brisbane.

All of this passed with no public intervention from the Archdiocese or public comment in the media. That did not mean that Media eyes were not drawn to South Brisbane as a place to watch. For, whatever they thought about the speakers, the Media knew that they taught contrary to the Catholic Church’s teaching and that South Brisbane was operating at serious odds with the Catholic Church.

The Media could see what the Archdiocese would not.



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