“He could comfort the disturbed and he could disturb the comforted,” said Father Brendan Lee which made the congregation laugh.
“He could touch people in a way that others couldn’t.” His personality was “like electricity.”
He said he “had an unfortunate relationship with the media.”
Lateline presenter Emma Alberici and her husband were in the audience.
The Church obviously feels deeply hurt by attacks and criticism from journalists. My opinion is that light is being shone into dark places, whereas some in the Church see the media as evil. Kevin was one of those pointing the torch but Father Brendan didn’t go into detail about that except to say that most of the abuse happened in a 20 year time frame between the 1960s and the 1990s.
The Lee family can be immensely proud of Kevin. His book ‘Unholy Silence’ formed the backbone of the Four Corners Logie nominated episode of the same name which exposed the Catholic cover-up of known paedophile priests including the notorious Father F. This snowballed into the announcement of a Royal Commission, which many people had been agitating for for years.
Father Brendan said the Memorial Mass was held in Springwood rather than in Kevin’s Padre Pio Church in Glenmore Park because the media would have made a big deal out of it. How they see the media as the enemy when Papal knight Rupert Murdoch owns most of it, I don’t know.
I did not see one photo of Kevin’s wife Josefina or their baby amongst the many on a collage handed out or on the slideshow which ran throughout the service. If someone didn’t know and they went to that mass, they wouldn’t know that Kevin had married and had a baby, until his brother David gave the Eulogy. Kevin’s body remains in the Philippines.
The Lee “tribe” are devout Catholics which was obviously passed on to Kevin.
The Eulogy delivered by Kevin’s brother David described a man of great love, generosity, kindness and intelligence. His articulate writing is what generated so much influence. He wrote so many emails from the Philippines, he was a natural communicator and a man who wanted to know your inner most thoughts about your life.
Ray King was in the audience. Kevin sent me so many photos of them to publish when he was alive. “I could not comprehend his actions. To this day, I still don’t,” he said.
The prayer of St Francis was sung, it is a beautiful hymn:
Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.
I was pleased they used the Prayer of St Francis because Kevin left a comment saying how much Assisi meant to him: https://francesjones.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/listening-to-the-wind/#comment-1214
The hymns give one time for reflection. With about 10 male priests standing up there on the stage, why couldn’t they marry as Kevin did, if they wanted to?
Kevin wrote, “I personally believe that celibacy for the clergy is a cleverly choreographed charade.”
There is an account set up by police to help Josefina and Michelle. I am concerned about her financial well-being as I don’t think she qualifies for a single parent payment as she’s in the Philippines.
Father Kevin Lee Fundraising Account Number – 276651 S1 BSB 815000
I felt I needed to be there. Kevin actively reached out to journalists and wanted media attention. He knew that the light of truth would expose the darkness. He was so grateful to people who shared his writing and wanted to get it into the mainstream.
A survivor of child sexual abuse by a priest who attended the Mass said, “It was disgusting. Using it to push their agenda … Quoting false stats … Attacking the media. Bishop there overlooking it … Made me sick. Nobody sitting with me was happy with the way they quoted stats that only 6 priests abused 75% or that Kevin’s memorial was used in such a fashion to push the church’s agenda, it wasn’t the forum … He was making out that the media sought Kevin out and twisted his arm, but from what I know he was the one that sought them out. I just didn’t think it was the place.”
The Catholic Church feels that it is under attack from an aggressive media, so is being defensive.
My feeling after today’s Mass are the words of St Francis:
‘Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love.’
The Church is surrounded by burnt bush and some houses right next to it were burnt down in the recent bushfires.
Father Kevin Lee was ordained in 1992 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta and ministered in nine parishes in his twenty years of ministry. His brother told some lovely stories about Green Grocer cicadas, they remind his siblings of Kevin.