Screenshot from www.fatherbob.com.au
Supporters of South Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire have begun bombarding the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne with letters and emails pleading for him to be kept on as a parish priest, reports the Herald Sun.
The parish council at South Melbourne's St Peter and Paul's Catholic Church has urged the public to join the campaign to keep the celebrity priest past his February retirement deadline.
James O'Farrell, a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, said Fr Maguire stated his intention to resign in writing in September 2009.
"The transition to Fr Bob's retirement was developed in consultation with Fr Bob more than two years ago to enable sufficient time for him and the parish to prepare for his retirement and the appointment of a replacement," he said.
Parish council member Frank O'Connor said it was wrong to force 77-year-old Fr Maguire from his post.
Premier Ted Baillieu said the decision on Fr Maguire's retirement was a matter between him and the church - and that "whatever Fr Bob is doing he will have the support of all Victorians".
Former North Melbourne and Carlton coach Denis Pagan said Fr Maguire, who married his son Ryan and daughter-in-law Tara two weeks ago, was the "Catholic Church's best recruiting manager".
Melbourne identity Mick Gatto said he had attended Fr Maguire's parish and getting rid of him was "not the right go".
FULL STORY AND RELATED STORY
Supporters step up campaign against church to keep Fr Bob Maguire (Herald Sun)
Fight brews to hang on to Father Bob (The Age)