THE controversy surrounding one of Australia's most radical Catholic churches, St Mary's South Brisbane, has escalated into a wider debate over bedrock Christian beliefs.
On the line for parishioners of St Mary's and several other parishes in Queensland and NSW are fundamental church doctrines such as who can celebrate Mass, whether Jesus Christ was God, whether Mary had as many as six children, the bodily Resurrection, and the need for sacramental celebrations for same-sex marriages.
In a booklet being sold for $20, a NSW priest, Peter Dresser of Coonamble in the Diocese of Bathurst, insists Jesus was not God and did not think he was God. The booklet is on sale at two Brisbane parishes: St Mary's and the Wooloowin/Windsor/Kalinga Parish of outspoken Brisbane priest Richard Pascoe.
In God is Big. Real Big! Father Dresser -- who prefers to be known as Peter -- says: "This whole matter regarding Jesus being God ... not only does violence to my own intelligence, but must be a sticking point for millions of people trying to make some kind of sense of the Christian religion ... No human being can ever be God, and Jesus was a human being. It is as simple as that."