Perth priests made Monsignors to promote Rector, VG roles

02 Apr 2009

By Anthony Barich

Msgr Kevin Long is congratulated by Archbishop Hickey. Photo: The Record.

Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed the title of Monsignor on Perth Vicar General Fr Brian O’Loughlin and St Charles Seminary Rector Fr Kevin Long.

Mgr Brian O’Loughlin is congratulated by Archbishop Barry Hickey on being made a Monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI. Photo: Anthony Barich

Mgr Kevin Long is congratulated by Archbishop Barry Hickey on being made a Monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI.

Fr O’Loughlin has been made a Monsignor, Protonotary Apostolic.
He is believed to be the first priest in Perth to be given this category of Monsignor since Mgr Patrick Verling in the 1930s, Vicar General and parish priest of Subiaco who oversaw the construction of St Joseph’s Church.

Msgr Brian O’Loughlin with Archbishop Hickey. Photo: The Record.

Mgr O’Loughlin, chosen by Archbishop Launcelot Goody for Canon Law Studies at St Paul Universtiy, Ottawa, Canada, said that Protonotary Apostolic signifies one who has been involved in drafting of Papal Decrees; now it’s a more honorary title.

Fr Long, who was Rector at St Thomas More College since 1995 until taking over from Fr Don Hughes OMI as St Charles Seminary Rector last month, has been given the category of Chaplain to His Holiness.

He was a founding member of the core curriculum at the University of Notre Dame Australia, also addressing clergy groups on Papal encyclicals and important Vatican documents.

When Archbishop Hickey was appointed by the Pope as Relator Generalis – the bishops’ secretary for the Synod of Oceania who coordinated the recommendations presented to the Pope – in 1998, Fr Long accompanied him to Rome as one of his two theological Periti (experts) of the synod.

Archbishop Barry Hickey told The Record that the Pope’s announcement gives much-needed prominence to the roles of Vicar General and Rector of the diocesan seminary.

“The position of Vicar General and Rector of the seminary are two of the most significant ones we have: the Vicar General as I do need someone to represent me and act in my name on many occasions, and the seminary needs to have a high profile to attract vocations for priests for the future,” the Archbishop said.

“Both candidates are very worthy of these appointments, so I think the whole diocese should rejoice and will rejoice.”

The Archbishop said that he petitioned the Pope for the positions in response to many suggestions made to him.

Fr O’Loughlin, who has been parish priest at Embleton, Mt Lawley and Claremont after being assistant at Nedlands and Cottesloe, could have been given the title of Monsignor when made Vicar General.

But he preferred the title Father at the time, as it signifies a spiritual relationship between a priest and his flock, and the title of Doctor as he is a Doctor of Canon Law.

“Some fundamentalists would note that Jesus said to call no one on earth your father, but the Church interprets that as calling no one on earth God,” Mgr O’Loughlin said.

“The title of Monsignor has a similar parallel to the honours conferred on Australia Day – an honorific recognition that the role a priest has in the diocese is worthy of a title, conferred by the Queen.”