Father Norden — a noted social advocate, long-time Pentridge Prison chaplain and founder of Jesuit Social Services — said yesterday his workload had become unmanageable and he had not been adequately supported by the church on organizational or personal issues.
He said that in his last year as a part-time parish priest at St Ignatius, Richmond, he did 70 weddings, 200 baptisms and 50 funerals. He also travelled interstate 30 times as policy director for Jesuit Social Services.
Over the decades he ministered to the six prisoners who died in the Jika Jika fire at Pentridge Prison in 1987 and attended several murder and suicide scenes.
"At Jika Jika most of the officers took six months off and had counselling, but no one had any concern for me," he said. "Most of the stuff I am working through is traumatic stuff from 20 years ago. In one sense it's all very exciting and challenging, but you realise you are carrying scars."
Father Norden said he was still motivated by a call to service of the community, but felt less attached to the institutional church. He said he was still thinking about whether he would remain a priest. "I feel burnt out and need a new direction."
Jesuit Provincial Steve Curtin expressed gratitude for Father Norden's "extremely stressful work, on behalf of … people at the edges of society".
Link (here) to original article in The Age.