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Qld: Sacked priest vows to celebrate mass

19 Feb 2009 6:12 PM

BRISBANE, Feb 19 AAP - A Brisbane Catholic priest sacked over breaching church rules says he will go ahead with saying mass on Sunday and is seeking legal advice on an appeal.

Father Peter Kennedy - the former priest in charge of St Mary's parish, South Brisbane - was sacked by Archbishop John Bathersby on Thursday.

Fr Kennedy has been accused of allowing women to preach the homily, breaking rules to do with holy communion and blessing same-sex unions.

The archbishop's decree said Fr Kennedy had "caused harm to ecclesiastical communion in spite of frequent requests from me to do otherwise".

"I hereby remove you from the office of administrator of St Mary's Parish, South Brisbane, effective immediately," the decree read.

The decree said Fr Kennedy had the right to appeal the decision, initially to the archbishop and subsequently to a "higher authority".

But an appeal would not suspend the effect of the decree, Archbishop Bathersby said.

Fr Kennedy, who is seeking the advice of a barrister on an appeal, told reporters at his church on Thursday he intended to celebrate mass on Sunday at 9am (AEST).

"I am determined to go ahead and hold mass," he said.

Fr Kennedy said he expected around 1,000 people to crowd into the church.

His interim replacement, Cathedral Dean Fr Ken Howell, has said he will celebrate mass at 7am, but it is uncertain whether he will also attend the 9am service.

Fr Kennedy apologised for calling the Dean a "religious scab" on Wednesday.

"I'm sorry I said that. I looked up the definition of `scab' in the dictionary this morning and the Dean is certainly not that," he said.