Fr Bob Irwin, provincial of the Missionaries of the
Sacred Heart, has asked the parish priest of St Vincent
de Paul Church, Redfern, Fr Peter Carroll, to withdraw
from the parish.
“I believe Fr Peter has been placed in an intolerable
position that is most unreasonable for any parish priest,”
Fr Bob said he had asked the priest to withdraw “after
much careful reflection and prayer, and conversations
with many people, including the archdiocese”.
He said he apologised to those members of the Redfern
Catholic community who had stood by Fr Peter, adding
that the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart “do not have
the personnel” to replace him.
“For the next month we will try to facilitate normal
Sunday Mass times,” Fr Bob said. “However, it is expected
that in the near future the archbishop will appoint
a new parish priest.
“I hope and pray that members of the parish will be
understanding and that the Spirit of God will be obvious
among you all.”
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr George Pell, said: “Fr
Peter Carroll has always enjoyed my total support and
recent events there are entirely regrettable.”
Fr Peter, who had been parish priest for eight months,
has been accused by some sections of the parish community
of alienating Aboriginals.
He had a hard act to follow, replacing Fr Edward Kennedy,
parish priest for more than 30 years, who once described
himself as “aiding and abetting” the long term struggle
for justice by Abor-iginal people.
He would distribute the collection money on Sundays
to those waiting outside the church. Fr Peter has been
accused of stopping this practice.
Some parishioners also complained after an Aboriginal
man who, with Fr Kennedy’s blessing, had been squatting
in the unused presbytery for more than 10 years, was
evicted because of health and safety concerns.
It has also been claimed that Fr Peter offered parishioner
Linda Kemp $1500 to give up her weekly church cleaning
job, a position she had held for nine years, and to
sign a confidentiality agreement.
Ms Kemp has been quoted in news sources as having said:
“He has a fear of Aboriginal people.
“He doesn’t give us the time of day.
“He doesn’t talk to us after Mass. He’s straight out
by Catholic Weekly - Damir