Archbishop scolds priest – updated*

The West Australian reports…

“Vandals have struck the church connected to the City Beach priest involved in this week’s lost bracelet scandal.

Rev. Terry McAuliffe, the Anglican priest who found a $6500 gold and diamond bracelet in a carpark, gave the jewellery back to its original owners yesterday after a public backlash and scathing condemnation from his Archbishop.

But this morning vandals scrawled graffiti on the walls St Paul’s Anglican Church in City Beach and a brick was thrown through the front window.

“Thieves preach here,” was painted on one wall.

The West Australian revealed yesterday how Lesley Bevan lost the bracelet, a birthday present from husband Clyde eight years ago, in February. The couple were delighted to hear the Rev. Terry McAuliffe had found it, handed it in at a police station and then tracked them down.

But after telling them he was now the bracelet’s legal owner, Mr McAuliffe said he would give it to Mr and Mrs Bevan if they made a claim under their insurance policy and gave him half the payout.

Perth Anglican Archbishop  Roger Herft yesterday described the clergyman’s actions as “reprehensible” and said he had urged him to return the bracelet.

“Whatever the strict letter of the law may be, I would expect the priest to recognise the moral issue here, and the couple concerned has every right to feel disappointed that a member of the clergy has responded in the way he did,” he said.

“The effect of his conduct is to take advantage of the misfortune of others by adopting a legalistic position. That conduct in my view is contrary to the spirit and the truth of the matter and contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.”

Archbishop Herft apologised on behalf of the diocese to “all who have been deeply distressed by the actions of the priest”.

Mr McAuliffe, who said he was a personal injury lawyer until 1988, gave the bracelet to the Bevans yesterday afternoon.

He apologised to the couple and  said  that on reflection he realised he had made a mistake.

“I was caught up in the legal niceties and the very interesting legal question under the statute,” he said. “That is a bit of a failing of mine because of many years of legal training.

“I tend to get excited and interested in that to the exclusion of the people.

“They were really distressed and it was not fair of me to put them through that.”

Mr Bevan said they were relieved and delighted to have the bracelet back and made a $500 donation to Mr McAuliffe’s church.”



10 thoughts on “Archbishop scolds priest – updated*

  1. All I am saying Dissillusioned, is that as a person who was previously a lawyer, he knew very well that he was asking these people to gain money via fraudulent means. Had they done so, and had they been caught out by the insurance company they could have faced criminal charges…and he would have known that.


  2. Dissapointing action on behalf of the priest – and yes, dissillusoined, that’s what happens in life – you make mistakes and all the good you’ve done previously is overshadowed by the mistake…in this case the priest tried to not only gain profit out of anothers misfortune (not something one would expect from a follower of Jesus), but he also encouraged fraud! That to me is the greater of the crimes, because the man was a lawyer and knew what he was doing

    I happen to know Arch Bishop Herf (not well, he woudl likely not remember me) I was a youth worker and in college while he was Bishop of Newcastle…he is a man of integrity and justice, and actions such as this by one of his clergy would horrify him. I’m surprised the priest has kept his job.


  3. There’s plenty of people to help in the world. You can help a greedy priest if you want.

    Yeah we all make mistakes. People in jail say the same thing.


  4. Lets not worry about the thousands of good things this priest has done, for the last 20 years of his career. Oh no, on one bad judgement call he deserves to have everything else good he has ever done wiped off the media radar. You keyboard commenters are all so sanctimonious and holier than thou. Whatever happened to man being fallible? No, he is just media and blog fodder and when the story disappears, don’t worry about him, his vandalized house that his family helped clean up the other day (because not one parishoner decided to contact him), just go on with your merry life and God forbid anyone makes a mistake ever.


  5. This shows a shallow level of integrity by this minister – he was once a lawyer so that part doesn’t surprise me
    The couple revealed how decent they were in giving a donation which they didn’t have to


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