Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal George Pell has told a Sydney parish priest to disallow the Australian Reforming Catholics group from using a church hall in Rose Bay to hold the group's annual general meeting, drawing criticism from the group.
Some of the group members believe that Cardinal Pell acted without proper authority and breached canon law, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"An elected leader can act within their rights and be dictatorial, but when somebody acts outside the rules of their organisation and makes rules that suit themselves, they become a despot," according to its spokesman, John Buggy.
"If Cardinal Pell doesn't like somebody it seems he can unilaterally ban them from speaking on church property.
"To ban somebody you have to go through a procedure. The least you would expect is for him to meet with these people he seeks to outlaw and have a discussion with them; to see what they are about, get an understanding of their beliefs and to at least discuss the issues."
The Herald reported that it understands that a decision will be made at the annual meeting, now to be held at Club Rose Bay, as to whether to make a formal protest. The group insists it had no plans to discuss topics that go against the church's teachings.
Cardinal Pell, who is away in Rome, was unavailable for comment on the matter, the report said.
Cardinal criticised over clampdown on reform group (Sydney Morning Herald)