Melbourne priest will no longer celebrate Mass at school

Fr John Walshe

Victorian priest Fr John Walshe will no longer say Mass at a Melbourne primary school following a protest campaign by parents, reports The Age.

A school newsletter from St John Vianney's Primary School in Parkdale last week informed parents that associate priest, Fr Ramsay Williams, would celebrate school Mass for the present.

Fr Walshe declined to comment on the change. The Archdiocese of Melbourne was contacted for comment.

Earlier this month, more than 40 parents removed their children from school Mass celebrated fortnightly by Fr Walshe. They were calling for his resignation.

The protest came after Fr Walshe gave evidence at the royal commission in December about his recollection of a 1993 phone call between Cardinal George Pell and a child abuse victim.

Shortly afterwards, it emerged Fr Walshe had some years earlier been accused of abusing a teenage seminarian in the early 1980s after the pair had been drinking together.

Fr Walshe has always denied the accusation. However, in 2012, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, apologised to the former seminarian for the "wrongs and hurt" he suffered at the hands of Fr Walshe. The accuser also received $75,000 in compensation.

Also this month, about 20 parents withdrew their children from Fr Walshe's weekly Mass at Mentone's St Patrick's School, which is in the same parish.

Angela Sdrinis, who runs a law firm specialising in institutional abuse, represents a committee of parents at both schools.

She said the withdrawal of Fr Walshe from Mass at St John's was not the answer to issues raised by parents.

Photo: Herald Sun

FULL STORY Father John Walshe stops saying mass at St John Vianney's Primary School after parent protest

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