Catholic Church turns to civil court over 'rebel priest' Father Peter Kennedy

Brisbane, Australia - The Catholic Church in Brisbane will begin legal proceedings to remove a rebel priest from his position after attempts at mediation failed.

Canon lawyer and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Fr Adrian Farrelly, today said that Fr Peter Kennedy, sacked as administrator of St Mary's church in South Brisbane, has refused to participate in a formal process of mediation.

Fr Farrelly said lawyers for Fr Kennedy had confirmed that he had withdrawn from the independent mediation process which was to have been facilitated by former High Court judge Ian Callinan, QC.

Mediation was scheduled to commence on Wednesday.

Archbishop John Bathersby last month issued a decree removing Fr Kennedy as administrator of St Mary's parish, citing Fr Kennedy's ongoing refusal to adhere to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church.

Fr Farrelly said that since that time, Fr Kennedy has refused to hand over the keys, or to enable the new administrator of the parish to take up his position.

In an effort to find a solution to the impasse the Archbishop asked Mr Callinan to mediate with the aim of facilitating the peaceful handover of St Mary's administration.

"Unfortunately, Fr Kennedy has refused to discuss the process by which Fr Ken Howell will take up his responsibilities as the new administrator of St Mary's parish," Fr Farrelly said.

"We are still hopeful that members of the St Mary's community will agree to cooperate, so that they can work with Fr Howell to continue St Mary's outreach work and to begin the process of dialogue and healing.

"Fr Kennedy's refusal to participate in the mediation process leaves the archbishop with no option other than to consult with the archdiocesan legal advisers to facilitate the handover of St Mary's administration through the proper legal processes," Fr Farrelly said.