Australian priest who unleashed vulgar verbal tirade resigns


The Australian Catholic priest, Monsignor Geoff Baron, who was caught on video insulting and verbally abusing a group of skateboarders, has resigned from his post as the Dean of Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Parishioners at St Patrick's were informed yesterday of Monsignor Geoff Baron's resignation in the parish newsletter, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Msgr. Baron voluntarily tendered his resignation to the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Reverend Denis Hart, on August 15.

"Monsignor Baron freely and spontaneously offered his resignation as Dean of St Patrick's and parish administrator of St John's parish, East Melbourne, and it was accepted by the archbishop," Catholic church spokesman Jim O'Farrell said.

"He will now take a period of rest and refreshment for the remainder of 2007."

Father Gerard Johnson has been appointed the new Dean of St Patrick's, to replace Msgr. Baron as the pastor of Melbourne's largest Catholic church.

The incident that brought about Monsignor Baron’s resignation began when a group of teenagers provoked him by calling him a pedophile.

Baron responded to the skateboarders with a tirade that was peppered with racial insults and sexually explicit verbal abuse.

After the video surfaced on the YouTube website last month, he was ordered to take indefinite leave and left Melbourne to stay with his brother in Sydney.

Last month, in an interview with Southern Cross Broadcasting, he said that the initial insult that the teenagers provoked him with caused him to snap and that he regretted it.

"The shame that I feel and the embarrassment, I can't really describe," he said at the time.

Archbishop Hart said he was "deeply troubled" by the incident and investigated the matter while the Dean was on leave, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr. O'Farrell said no restrictions have been placed on Monsignor Baron who retains his title and can still say Mass.

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