Priest's angry outburst

by umer | 8:18 AM in |

Priest's angry outburst-A senior Catholic priest says he feels indescribable shame over the verbal abuse he hurled at a group of teenagers taunting him on his cathedral steps in Melbourne.

The Reverend Monsignor Geoff Baron, the Dean of Melbourne's iconic bluestone church, St Patrick's Cathedral, has been caught on video swearing at and racially abusing a group of teenage skateboarders.

The incident happened a year ago and video footage recently surfaced on the YouTube website.

Dean Baron said he wished he could take back his "outrageous behaviour".

"The shame that I feel and the embarrassment, I can't really describe," he told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

"It was outrageous behaviour, I let myself down terribly badly, that's quite clear and I've also brought scandal and shock to other people."

He said he had been provoked when the teenagers, who were skating on the cathedral steps, called him a pedophile.

"I can't excuse it, I wouldn't even try to, I don't know why I said those things.

"It might be linked up in some way that so many priests are considered to be pedophiles and here I was being called one."
He said he could not bear to watch the footage.

"The only thing I did see was me being surrounded by these kids and I looked like a kind of a hunted animal being yapped at by jackals and hyenas," he said.

"All they were doing was provoking me and making it worse and worse.

"I have never in my whole life got as angry as that, never."

He said he would now have to live with the footage of his outburst being beamed around the world "all the days of my life".

The language came from the depths of his heart, when something "snapped inside", he said.

He said the outburst was out of character and he was "utterly embarrassed", apologising to all who were offended, but not to the teenagers he abused.

"I have the impression that that particular gang of skateboarders, they take a particular delight and joy in reducing people to grovelling measures as I was, that's their goal, that's their aim, so I don't think I owe them an apology as such, I apologise to all who were scandalised by my behaviour."

Dean Baron may now seek help in dealing with anger issues and will have to discuss the incident with Archbishop Denis Hart.