Jules Gomes reports for ChurchMilitant.com — A bishop who called for lay empowerment and dismantling clericalism is bulldozing dissent as clergy and laity revolt over financial corruption and pro-LGBT sex education in the diocese’s schools.
Under Bp. Vincent Long Van Nguyen, the diocese of Parramatta faces meltdown: The cathedral’s dean has resigned, a traditionalist priest has been censored and faithful clerics have been warned not to talk to the media, a diocesan source told Church Militant.
“Father Robert Bossini, dean and parish priest of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, has had a big bust-up with the bishop, resigned as dean and has been accepted into the archdiocese of Sydney,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He is now in limbo as he finishes his annual leave and awaits appointment to a parish in Sydney,” the source added.
Church Militant obtained Fr. Bossini’s resignation letter, which revealed that the dean was forced to quit as a result of “a gradual deterioration” of his “faith, trust, respect and confidence in the leadership of this diocese.”
Bossini’s letter of June 19, 2020 was removed from the cathedral’s website not long after it was posted.
“Ever since the parish stood up to the diocese in regard to the ill-conceived St. Pat’s Quarters Project, there has been a move to remove me from my position as parish priest and dean of St. Patrick’s,” Bossini wrote.
Parishioners said that the diocese intended to demolish one side of the cathedral — including office, presbytery and cloister hall — and turn it into an entrance for underground parking with a view to commercially developing the site.
As long as the bishop has the backing of the pope, he’s safe. As long as the priest has the backing of his bishop, he’s safe.Tweet
The diocese claims there is no need for a presbytery because “in these modern times, priests live outside of their churches.”
Father Bossini has also lamented “the shameful way in which the diocesan leadership has dealt with this parish, trying to accuse the parish of financial mismanagement during the 2019 parish audit.”
“This process was flawed and corrupt from its inception. The audit was never shown to the parish, and yet it was tabled at three separate diocesan groups: the Curia, the Diocesan Finance Committee and the College of Consultors,” the priest noted, accusing the bishop of squandering over $25,000 on KPMG — a multinational financial firm.
The entire diocesan process was “punitive rather than formative,” and the parish had still not seen the audit after eight months, Bossini complained, saying he was assigned pastoral care of Katoomba Parish “as a means of ‘legally’ removing me from the parish.”
I was also a victim of sexual abuse by clergy when I first came to Australia, even though I was an adult.Tweet
The dean’s letter also spotlights the “disgusting way in which Fr. Warren Edwards, parish priest of Our Lady of the Angels, Rouse Hill, was treated over the construction of Sancta Sophia College, which resulted in bullying allegations being made against him by the director of Catholic education of the diocese of Parramatta (CEDP), Greg Whitby.”
Bossini accuses the bishop of placing Fr. Warren “in a position where his mental and physical health were greatly affected,” forcing Warren to move to the archdiocese of Hobart for five years as a result of the harassment.
According to the dean, who is much-loved by his parishioners, “No dialogue was entered into by the diocesan leadership, even though we have heard from the bishop that the ‘new’ Church needs to exhibit a decision-making process ‘from the bottom-up and not from the top-down.'”
“This sentiment is lost in words and never seen in actions,” Bossini stressed.
Ironically, Vietnamese-born Bp. Long has long claimed to champion the cause of empowering the laity.
“The laity have no meaningful or direct participation in the appointment, supervision and even removal of the parish priest. I think that needs to change,” Long told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2017.
“As long as the bishop has the backing of the pope, he’s safe. As long as the priest has the backing of his bishop, he’s safe. There’s no accountability that reaches downwards or outwards, and that’s the critical problem,” Long remarked.
But Long himself has the protection of Pope Francis, since he is known to share and promote the ideological agenda of the pontiff, according to the bishop’s critics.
But a priest told Church Militant that Long was not a minor at the time and that a reputable friar in Long’s Conventual Franciscan community had confirmed that “This was simply not true, that in fact, Vincent Long pushed the accused away.”
Meanwhile, former SSPX priest Fr. John Rizzo, who blew the whistle on sexual grooming in the society, has been gone on vacation and warned not to talk to the media by the vicar general Peter Williams.
The laity have no meaningful or direct participation in the appointment, supervision and even removal of the parish priest. I think that needs to change.Tweet
Rizzo is currently full-time chaplain to the Benedictine nuns at Tyburn Priory, Riverstone and is closely associated with the Newcastle Traditional Latin Mass Society.
The traditionalist priest reminded the diocese’s education office of “their crucial responsibility in teaching their students of the importance of the Ten Commandments [and] the Catholic teachings of morality,” after Bp. Long introduced a program of radical sex education, atheism, gender fluidity, queer studies, identity politics and indigenous spirituality in the schools’ religious education syllabus.
Another priest, Fr. John O’Neill of St. John Vianney Parish, Doonside, was supposed to be interviewed by broadcaster Alan Jones on Sky News on the sex education crisis, but it was canceled at the last minute after Bp. Long warned his clergy not to speak to the media, a source said.
Father O’Neill has served 55 years and has probably been threatened with forced retirement, the source added. However, another source said that O’Neill’s ailing health prevented the interview with Alan Jones and the faithful priest himself “felt it prudent not to be interviewed, after the ample coverage in the Daily Telegraph.”
Father O’Neill priest has produced five seminarians and three women from his parish who are training for the priesthood and for religious life, respectively.
Meanwhile, Australia’s apostolic nuncio, Bp. Adolfo Tito Yllana, has been inundated with phone calls and emails from hundreds of Catholics (and thousands have signed petitions) demanding the dismissal of Parramatta’s Bp. Vincent Long Van Nguyen, according to Charlie Bakhos of Christian Lives Matter.