CATH NEWS REPORT: The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has reportedly signed up the Capuchins to run the South Melbourne parish of Sts Peter and Paul, reports The Age.
Mr Long said the archdiocese signed up the Capuchins without a word to the parish, an approach he said was contemptible, tawdry and distressing.
After a public outcry over the call for parish priest Father Bob Maguire to retire two years ago, a compromise was reached whereby he would retire next February, but South Melbourne Parish Council chairman Tony Long said yesterday the parishioners wanted him to stay on.
When he and another parish councillor met two Capuchin representatives last week, it emerged only by accident that the Capuchins had been offered the parish and accepted, Mr Long said.
''We were shocked. We were working towards asking for an extension (for Fr Maguire). Given the shortage of parish priests, why wouldn't they use someone who is active and able?''
He said some might see the lack of courtesy as minor, that the archdiocese had the authority and did not need the involvement of the parish. ''But it was a contemptible thing to do.''
The archdiocese and Australian head of the Capuchin order, Father Gary Devery, have declined to comment.