Parish keeps faith in fight for Father Bob

SOUTH Melbourne is again fighting to keep its beloved priest, Father Bob Maguire, after the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne secretly signed a contract with the Capuchin religious order to run the parish from February.

The charismatic Father Maguire, 2011 Victorian of the Year and a noted media personality, yesterday blamed Sydney's Cardinal George Pell, saying his removal was part of the cardinal's battle to enforce his own highly conservative view of Catholicism.

Two years ago, the high-profile priest won a battle of wills with Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, who wanted him to stand down at the optional retirement age of 75 and suggested Father Maguire was not financially competent.

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