Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

An Enabling Life: Father Kevin Mogg

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

An Enabling Life: Father Kevin Mogg

Article excerpt

An Enabling Life: Father Kevin Mogg (a collection of reminiscences)

Author: Anne Tuohey (researcher, interviewer)

Publisher: The Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9871461-3-7

Paperback, 136 pages

Price: $25 (through Catholic Care)

Even God Smiled: The Strife and Chimes of Kev the Rev

Author: Kevin Burke

Publisher: David Lovell Publishing, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-86355-185-4

Paperback, 392 pages (plus 30 pages of photos)

Price: $40 (including postage, from the author, PO Box 310, Eltham, Vic. 3095)

Accounts of the lives of two veteran and well known Melbourne diocesan priests named Kevin appeared shortly before this edition of the Journal went to press. The older of the two, Father Kevin Mogg, ordained in 1956 and now in his late 80s, is in retirement after a long ministry full of laudable achievements. Father Kevin Burke, ordained in 1970 and aged 75, claims to have worked in 16 parishes, visited over 12,000 homes, had about 100 forthright letters published in newspapers and written numerous articles for the Council of Priests' journal, The Swag. Since 2008 he has been the active parish priest of Eltham. There and elsewhere he has been known for being outspoken and for applying his understanding of the message of Vatican II to the running of a parish.

Kevin Mogg was the first non-Jesuit to become the Rector of the main Victorian seminary for diocesan clergy, Corpus Christi College. The appointment came from Melbourne's Archbishop, Cardinal James Knox, who had decided to sell the seminary's separated campuses at Werribee and Glen Waverley and to re-unite the two faculties in a new building at Clayton, near Monash University. Knox knew of Mogg's outstanding work since ordination with the young in West Heidelberg, as a community builder and in juvenile justice. The Cardinal also supported the challenge his appointee faced in adapting seminary life to changes emerging from the Council, at a time when a few other bishops were reluctant to accept some of these developments.

After seven years as Rector, Kevin Mogg returned to parish life as pastor for 23 years at North Ringwood and a decade at Mornington. For much of that period as a popular parish priest he was also the Archdiocese's Episcopal Vicar for Social Welfare and the Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria, which he founded. His successor as Episcopal Vicar, Father Joseph Caddy, whom he had encouraged to consider becoming a priest, says in his Introduction to the book that Kevin "is an expert at spotting talent, encouraging initiative and providing support". As the book's title asserts, he has led "an enabling life".

The story of that life is well told by one of his former colleagues in Social Services, Anne Tuohey, whose research was accompanied by interviews with her subject, one fruit of which is a summary of Mogg's insightful views on the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission. …

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