— Tributes are flowing for high-profile Catholic priest Father Bob Maguire, who has died at age 88.
By Jordan Hirst
Father Bob is being remembered for his charity work and social justice campaigning, helping the poor, homeless and marginalised and minority communities in Melbourne, including LGBTQIA+ people.
The “maverick” priest was a high-profile media personality, known for speaking his mind and frequently called out church leaders.
In 2017, Father Bob Maguire gave a blunt instruction to fellow clergy during the same-sex marriage postal survey.
After a Catholic Archbishop cited society’s ban on incestuous marriages to argue why same-sex couples couldn’t wed, he urged fellow clergy to “shut their mouths” during the campaign.
Speaking to The New Daily, Father Bob declared “clergy are the worst politicians” and urged the church to show compassion.
“When it comes to these issues I think we should shut our mouths,” he said.
“A big number of people [would] want to hear a strong line. But it would be better if the church and other religions were involved in pastoral care with their communities rather than in politics.”
He added that he had no problem with same-sex marriage becoming secular law and said the issue was one for the “secular world”.
Years earlier, Father Bob Maguire made headlines in 2011, telling the Herald Sun he was open to blessing same-sex civil union ceremonies, albeit outside the church.
He said he didn’t have a personal view. But he said he considered it his duty to help anyone in need, including gay couples.
“Not only do I have an administrative responsibility but I have also pastoral responsibility,” he explained.
“And pastoral care would be taking care of the two people involved and their friends and their associates.”
Father Bob lashed out at Cardinal George Pell
But at that time, Father Bob Maguire accused Catholic Cardinal George Pell of punishing him for being “open to all”.
He described his ejection from South Melbourne’s parish as a “dishonourable discharge”.
“George Pell has declared those of us Vatican II-ists to be Cafeteria Catholics. Whereas he and his lot are authentic Catholics,” Fr Maguire told AAP.
“We live in the real world, we’re open to all, we’re not exclusive, not easily offended, we’re sacrificial.
“We put ourselves at the service of all kinds of people whether they’re church-going or not.”
Father Bob ‘stood up for LGBTIQA+ equality when few others would’
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese led tributes to Father Bob Maguire, describing him as a “great Australian”.
“An irrepressibly cheerful champion for all those battling disadvantage, he dedicated his life to brightening the lives of those most in need,” the PM said.
Rodney Croome, from Just.Equal Australia and ex-Australian Marriage Equality campaign director, said Father Bob was a staunch supporter of LGBTQIA+ Australians.
“Fr Bob Maguire was a brave and tireless advocate for LGBTIQA+ equality. He will be greatly missed,” Croome said.
“He stood up for the recognition of same-sex relationships and against anti-gay and anti-trans prejudice when few other public leaders were willing to do the same.”
Rodney added, “At a personal level I found my conversations with Fr Bob a source of great inspiration that kept me going during tough times.”
“Fr Bob was always true to his Christian values of love and inclusion, regardless of the fears and prejudices of others.”
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