Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peter Kennedy

Peter Kennedy is another name I added to the list while we were in Australia.

He's a part of a church, I think.

I don't think he's that huge of a deal yet; so I'm wondering if Lord Wiki even knows about him.

I'll go check.

Ah! He is there. It's a very short entry though.

I'll read it.

Peter Kennedy was in Brisbane. I wrongly assumed he was in Sydney.

Kennedy is a Roman Catholic priest. He served at St. Mary's parish church for twenty-eight years. Then recently he was removed by Archbishop John Bathersby. His last service was done on 19 April 2009.

Lord Wiki has a copy of the letter that was sent from the Archbishop to Kennedy. It makes my skin crawl a bit. Well, the letter itself is not so bad. What's upsetting is the reason behind the letter. Apparently Kennedy's evil crime was blessing gay couples. Oh no! How could he do such a thing?!

It gets worse though. He also allowed women to preach.

Now I know religions have their sexism and homophobia. That's their business. But it's the way the letter is worded.....

Here we have, Because there is doubt about the validity of the many baptisms performed at St Mary's, I will nominate a special day in the near future when baptisms can be performed at St Stephen's Cathedral and certificates issued to parents concerned about validity, or those who are adult converts. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made it clear in March 2008 that invalid baptisms cannot be dismissed and forgotten. They must be corrected.

Yes, of course. We can't have babies baptized by the same priest who blessed gay people.
The Archbishop also says, Peter, making these decisions gives me no satisfaction whatsoever. The separation of Christians is contrary to all that Christ prayed for. Nor does such division promote the Kingdom of God. You have had ample time to make a considered decision. Please God the division that exists at the present time will be healed in the future, probably not in my time.

Yes, but it's okay to divide and exclude homosexuals?

Anyway, that's about it for Lord Wiki.

I shall seek more information elsewhere.

Here's a news article from 22 February 2009. That's when we were in Australia. I saw it on the news and added Kennedy to the list.

Sixteen hundred people attended a service on a Sunday morning (probably around 22 February) led by Kennedy. I think it was a protest service. The parishioners gave Kennedy a standing ovation and then sang the song "We Shall Not be Moved".

That morning there was supposed to be a service done by Kennedy's replacement. The police suggested that the replacement not do this speech. There were concerns for his safety.

Archbishop Bathersby was the subject of a bomb threat. That's very unfortunate. It just totally taints any message when people use terrorism.

This article says Kennedy was fired because of his use of lay people and politically correct language in his services.

The article also says Kennedy refused mediation talks with Bathersby. Why? I can't imagine it hurting to talk to someone. It's better than bomb threats.

Well, I need to read more about this.

Here's a much more recent article. This one is from June.

Kennedy formed his own church group called St. Mary's in Exile. The Catholic Church has suspended him from his priestly duties. So, anyone who joins his church can't call themselves a Catholic.

Well, they can't OFFICIALLY call themselves a Catholic. Because ANYONE can call themselves a Catholic.

Hi! I'm Catholic.

See? I did it.

Hi! I'm an astronaut.

See? I did that too.

This article agrees with Lord Wiki. What got Kennedy into trouble is he blessed openly gay people.

The article says the Catholic Church is trying to bully the exiles into not wanting to follow Kennedy. I hope those people put their desire to stand by their principles ahead of their desire to stand by their religious label.

It seems a lot of bloggers are talking about Kennedy.

Ozsoapbox had an entry about it in May.

Oh no! Kennedy did even more horrible things. He allowed a Buddhist statue in the church. What is this world coming to? He also let people sit instead of stand during the reading of the gospels.

I like this Kennedy guy. If more churches were this cool, I might actually want to be Christian. Well, no....probably not. But it still would be nice to know churches like this are out there.

I like what the blogger says here. Religion, like anything else in this world should be evolutionary (no pun intended), and instead of stifling slightly different interpretations of the same ideas and ideologies the church should be embracing them. After all, aren’t the gospels themselves four slightly different interpretations of the same series of events?
Amen to that.

The blogger also says, Last I checked the church is supposed to work for the benefit of the people, not declare them spiritually invalid Sadly, in a sea of pedophiles and pope scandal, one of the few positives to shine through the fabric of Catholic religion over the last few decades seems to be all but extinguished.
Amen to that as well.

The first commenter defends the Catholic Church. Such a priest is a serious danger to the catholic faithful who depend on their priests to convey to them the truths of their religion and not some half-boiled personal opinion. When such a pries refuses to mend his ways the Catholic church has no option but to remove his priestly powers until he sees the error of his ways.
I don't think Kennedy has made any errors. I think he's awesome. But I can agree with the commenter in some ways. What I'm wondering is why does Kennedy need to be a CATHOLIC priest? Why does he need their validation? Why can't he just be done with them and start his own branch of Christianity?

Let Roman Catholicism have their old-fashioned ways. Why try to fight them? Why not instead officially break away from them?

There's that saying, If you can't beat them, join them. How about instead of that we say If you can't beat them and you don't want to join them....start your own group.

There's an argument from the blogger and some commenters that the Catholic Church is losing followers. I guess the question is do you adjust your religion to keep the people, or do you stick by what you believe in? I kind of feel it should be the latter...even though I don't like what they believe in. I feel they should keep their Catholic church the way they want it. I feel people who don't like it should leave it and start their own new Church.

So the Catholic Church becomes very small. Is that so bad? Maybe in the end it becomes so small that it practically disappears. So be it. We'll just then know that the world has become more open-minded and tolerant. We'll know more people prefer the NEW church.

I guess I just don't see the point of trying to fight the Catholic Church.

This article says that a church community leader believes that Kennedy was treated more harshly than a priest convicted of child molestation.

That's sad. But again. Who wants to be part of that kind of church anyway?

I really feel they should stop fighting, say good riddance, and form a new religion.

Here's an interview on ABC.

Kennedy says It was fine in the medieval times to believe in heaven, earth and hell and purgatory. But see I think that is too simple, too facile, too easy. But if you're a Catholic theologian and you try to talk about these issues, immediately you will be placed under suspicion.

See, I think of heaven, hell, and purgatory as being kind of important to Catholicism. Why be Catholic if you don't believe in those things? Is it because you're afraid of going to hell if you're NOT Catholic? But if you don't believe in hell, then no worries!

Another priest named Terry Fitzpatrick says I think the church central has become much more conservative, and we've seen that under Benedict even more. He has a phrase that he uses “Klein aber Fein” you know like "Small but pure", which is a German saying, so it doesn't matter if the church gets smaller, but it will be much more pure, and it's a scary, almost Nazi thing you know.
I don't get that. How does being small and "pure" make something Nazi-like? Are they saying that because the saying is a German one? So all German things must be Nazi?

Fitzpatrick fathered a child. Catholic Priests are not supposed to have sex.

See, I don't agree with really anything that Catholic Church believes in. I'm pro-choice. I'm not anti-homosexual. I don't believe in Jesus. I don't believe in heaven and hell. I don't believe in purgatory. I think religious leaders should have sex and get married. But I don't try to fight the Catholic Church. I just don't join them. It's that simple.

At one point, someone came into the church to take pictures of Kennedy performing a Baptism. It was believed the pictures would be used to get Kennedy is trouble. There was audio taken of the event as well. On the tape, Kennedy is accused of hurting the guy's camera. Kennedy responds Good I hope I have! If you don't get out I'll damage you. You have no right to be here.

Yikes. Although I admire Kennedy for some of his political and spiritual beliefs, I'm not sure I'd want someone like him as my religious leader. Something about this guy is rubbing me the wrong way. I have an uneasy feeling.

Peter Kennedy's sister says, haven’t they got a life? Can't they be out there helping someone? Isn't there something they could be doing in the community instead of going into a church and spying? And if it's not their cup of tea, if they don't like it, they don't have to go there.

Yes! Exactly. So, why doesn't Kennedy take his sister's advice? If he doesn't like the Catholic Church, he does NOT have to be a part of it.

If you don't like Catholicism, you don't have to be Catholic.
If you don't like homosexuality, you don't have to be gay.
If you don't like Homeschooling, you don't have to homeschool.
etc, etc, etc. 

An Archbishop says, When you look at some of the things that Peter says he believes in, or perhaps doesn't believe in anymore, heaven, hell, the Virgin Mary, whether Jesus existed, the divinity of Jesus, that's a jarring note when you hear them coming from the mouth of someone who is a Catholic priest.


Yeah, that's just too much in my book.

I mean I DO think religions should change with the times. And I think most of them do.  Or they break up into different sects. But I think Kennedy is going way too far. Why not make little changes gradually? How about a Catholic Priest that blesses homosexuals but still believes in Jesus, purgatory, heaven, and hell? What about Kennedy is still Catholic?

Kennedy says God is such a mystery. That it's so easy to fall into literalism and fundamentalism in religion. What can we know about Jesus? Basically there's nothing to corroborate his existence even.
Why is Kennedy even a priest?

Now in Judaism, there ARE Atheist and Agnostic rabbis. But what we do is divide ourselves into different groups. People call themselves Jewish, but they're not religious. They may be political or cultural Jews. There are Jews who celebrate holidays and do some of the rituals, but they don't believe in God.

One of my aunts belongs to a synagogue that is secular humanist.

In Chattanooga, I went weekly to a reform Synagogue. I'm pretty sure the rabbi was atheist...or at least agnostic.

I guess that's one of the good things about Judaism. There's flexibility. There's congregations that welcome homosexuals. There are congregations where women can be rabbis. If you don't like the way a congregation works, you can find a new one. Or you can be like me and just stop participating in congregational stuff.

Now I can't say there's total peace among Jews. We do fight with each other. We do question what other congregations are doing. But there's the idea that if your mom is a Jew, you are a Jew. That is that. It doesn't matter what you do or don't do, you're still Jewish. It's not a matter of being Jewish or not being Jewish. It's a matter of being a good Jew vs. a bad Jew.

I'm a bad Jew....well, according to people who follow a strict orthodox form of Judaism. Other Jews would say I'm a fine Jew.

Can Catholicism follow in the footsteps of Judaism...have different sects? Maybe. But the religions differ in that Catholicism has a hierarchy. They have a pope. I'm not sure why and how that makes a difference, but I think it does.

A guy in the interview says, If you belong to a club you value, what you do, what anyone does, is you stay in it and you do your level best to improve it so that you don’t take your bat and ball and go home or go somewhere else and play.
I think that's a good statement. But my question is what do Kennedy and his people value about the Catholic Church anyway? From what I'm reading they don't seem to value that much about it.

Kennedy says The most important thing about the Christian gospel is to try to stand in solidarity with those who are excluded, now we've been excluded. Because as a community we've stood with the excluded and the homeless and the broken, we are now homeless and excluded and broken. Maybe we're on the right track, because this is exactly what happened to Jesus. It's the Jesus story. But it's happened to a community.

Yes and Jesus was JEWISH. He wasn't Catholic. A new religion was formed. That's how life works.

Kennedy says We're quite Catholic and we'll go on saying that, and the Archbishop will have to deal with his bloody mindedness, in my mind, just a bloody mindedness.
But how are they Catholic? Is it because they still perform some Catholic rituals? So be it. Why can't they form a new religion and do the same rituals? A lot of religions borrow from each other. How many rituals of Judaism and Christianity are originally Pagan in nature?

Here's a MySpace for one of the members of St. Mary's in Exile.

The MySpace links to a poll on St. Mary's website. Where will you worship after April 19? Fifty percent of the people said they'll join Kennedy.  Twenty-eight percent of the people say they're going to stay at the church.

Wait. I think the St. Mary's Website is done by the exiles. They don't call themselves the exiles on the website though.

The website has a link to a group called FutureChurch. They're motto is we love the church. We're working to make it better.
I guess we can compare it to people who are not happy with their country. Some people say what I'm saying. Love it or leave it!
The thing is it's much easier to start a new religion than it is to start a new country...or move to another country. In terms of nationality, it makes more sense to try to fix your country rather than change it. For religions, I think it's easier to just leave and find something better.

I guess an argument would be that Catholics believe Catholicism is the one and only way to God. Maybe some of them believe that if they leave the Church, they'll lose their chance of going to heaven. So instead of leaving you try to change things.

I'm not quite buying that though. I'm doubting there are many exiles out there who truly believe they're not going to get the ticket to heaven because they're not sanctioned by the pope and his gang.

My feeling generally is that the Catholic Church is VERY rigid. But I think the exiles are being rigid as well. They want to be part of something they just don't fit into. It seems there are exiles and/or lapsed Catholics all over the world. From what I'm reading they might even outnumber the traditional Catholics. There's enough people to form a new religion. No one can stop them from doing the rituals of Catholicism. They can still do all the fun stuff: mass, baptism, hail Mary's, Rosary Beads, exorcisms, sing spooky songs in Latin, etc.

If you go to a shoe store and try on a shoe that doesn't fit, you can sit there and try to get the shoe store to change the shoe so it fits you. You can sit there all day working hard to make the change. Or you can realize Hey there are a LOT of shoes in this store. I can just find one that fits better. Or I can even design and create my own shoes!

Really. It's not always so bad to be an outcast. Sometimes it opens up wonderful new opportunities.