A Catholic parish priest has been forced to stop saying mass at a Melbourne primary school after the parent backlash received over sexual abuse allegations levelled at the man.

Dozens of parents would not allow their children to attend a school mass at St John Vianney primary school in Parkdale, earlier this month in response to the allegations.

A Catholic Church investigation last year found that the parish priest, Father John Walshe, had sexually abused an 18-year-old trainee priest in 1982.  According to the ABC, these revelations have prompted parents to voice their lost faith in the parish priest and restrict the involvement of their children with him.

Father Walshe denies he abused the seminarian, saying their relationship was consensual.

The principal informed parents in the school newsletter this week, that Father Walshe would not be celebrating the fortnightly mass with school students for the present time and that an associate priest would be performing the role.

“I would like all families to be aware that Fr [Ramsay] Williams, associate priest has been deputed by Fr Walshe to celebrate school masses for the present,” the newsletter said.

Father Walshe has not provided a comment surrounding these arrangements.

Image source: Getty Images

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  • This article is a disgrace. Father John Walshe is an amazing man. My self, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and parents – we all grew up with him. He’s done nothing but serve us with morals, competence, dedication and nothing but integrity. He may have went through challenge as a teen which God healed him from and made a forward. If every child had Father Walshe as a parish priest the world would be a better place. We love him, support him and stand by him.


  • yeah you can’t tell who these people are just by looking at them


  • oh dear, not another one


  • you need to keep these types of people far away from kids.


  • I can totally understand why they reacted this way


  • Entirely reasonable reaction from the parents.


  • How humiliating for the priest, and how frightening for the parents of the children who’ve had mass with him.


  • He has admitted the incident. It doesn’t matter whether it was consensual or not. He should be allowed in school grounds at all….nor should be allowed to be in the church.


  • The Catholic Church needs a massive shake up!!! It’s denial of and handling of and attitude towards abuse is disgusting at best. So glad the parents took a stand.

    • Many institutions need to accept responsibility and be proactive in battling abuse.


  • I would have done the same!


  • It is disturbing that he had a relationship (consensual or not) with anyone. He is a Catholic priest and has broken his vow of chastity. I am conflicted because on the one hand I believe in forgiveness, but on the other I do not sympathise with moral weakness. I too would be concerned if my child went to this school.


  • Lke gt


  • No matter what the safety of the kids should come first he should not be allowed near kids while they look into this


  • Any person in any position has to stand down when they are under investigation.


  • This is ghastly news. In a position of authority with children a level of see-through trust is essential for their safety. I believe the school was right in their actions until a police investigation can back up the church investigation.


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