Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Monday, May 04, 2009

"Faculties" for baptism?

An unsigned article in Sydney Morning Herald states that Brisbane Fr. Peter Kennedy, finally removed from his parish for a long list of good reasons, faces further restrictions on his "ministry" given his continuing antics. An archdiocesan spokesman apparently said that Brisbane Abp. John Bathersby might "revoke Fr. Kennedy's priestly faculties - that is, his authority to perform weddings, baptisms, preach and hear confessions." Fine by me, of course, with one question: What can removal of one's faculties to perform baptism mean?

Granted, pastors have a certain right to perform baptisms in their parish per 1983 CIC 530, but Kennedy, it seems, is already out as pastor, so what is there to remove? No one can deprive Kennedy, or anyone else for that matter, of the power to perform baptisms, however illicit such baptisms might be (1983 CIC 861, CCC 1256, and assuming Kennedy has decided that valid baptisms should be performed). So, something's a little off, either in the spokesman's remarks or in SMH reporting of this long-standing mess.