The man who took on Rome

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - BRIT­TANY STACK

THE sack­ing of Catholic pri­est Peter Kennedy for un­ortho­dox prac­tices in Fe­bru­ary 2009 made head­lines around the world.

Just days af­ter be­ing forced out of St Mary’s church in South Bris­bane, the rebel pri­est cre­ated a ‘‘ church in ex­ile’’ a few hun­dred me­tres away in a coun­cil build­ing, ig­nit­ing one of the big­gest rifts in the his­tory of the Aus­tralian Catholic Church.

In the eyes of Rome, 72-year-old Fa­ther Peter Kennedy ( pic­tured) is a heretic, out of step with the Vat­i­can on the most fun­da­men­tal tenets of Catholi­cism.

Kennedy’s trans­gres­sions in­clude ques­tion­ing the vir­gin birth, the in­fal­li­bil­ity of the Pope and even that Je­sus was the lit­eral Son of God.

In prac­tice, he re­jects wear­ing vest­ments, al­lows all mem­bers of the church, in­clud­ing women, to re­cite the Eucharist, and changes the word­ing of the bap­tism.

In the view of the Arch­bishop of Bris­bane, John Bathersby, Kennedy has put him­self ‘‘ out of com­mu­nion with the Ro­man Catholic Church’’.

Tonight’s must-see episode of Com­pass fea­tures un­par­al­leled ac­cess to this com­mu­nity in ex­ile and its leader as they strug­gle against the power of the church.

Kennedy’s re­li­gious ideals af­ter the fact are truly fas­ci­nat­ing.

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