If you’ve never encountered Father Bob Maguire, you’re in for a genuine treat with this show.

His official bio really doesn’t do him justice:

Fr Maguire began parish work in the 1960’s. He Joined the Army Reserve In 1965 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During the Vietnam War, he led the Character Training Unit for young officers. He came to Sts Peter and Paul’s as Parish Priest in 1973.

Fr Maguire co-founded Open Family in 1978 in what was a natural progression of his career in helping others. In what started off as a solo effort outside his role of South Melbourne parish priest, Fr Bob found himself working with the street-people of St Kilda. As Open Family’s Chairman, he has been an outspoken advocate of the poor and disadvantaged.

Throughout his Life, Fr Maguire’s goal has been to provide a semblance of basic human relationships to young people who have been rejected by their family, the education system and the welfare system.

For his work with street children, Fr Bob Maguire was awarded with the Order of Australia in 1989.

This recent article does it better:

Even at 71 years of age, South Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire can still be counted on to stir up some controversy. But it’s all for a good cause, writes Andrew Fenton.

The first time we meet, Bob Maguire is jovial and charming, making jokes and hamming it up for the camera. “Oh, so you must have heard about the woman running away from the church?” he says, chuckling. “Or about the time I spent in prison?”

Maguire also says “Jesus Christ!” a number of times, yet never in a religious context. First impression: top bloke. But Maguire is as volatile as he is excitable, and the second time we meet he has transformed into a grumpy old fellow who yells a lot.

Despite agreeing to give a tour of his church and presbytery in South Melbourne, he’s changed his mind, and excitedly yammers at a couple of volunteers to do itfor him. They agree rather wearily, but it’s clear they’d rather be elsewhere.

Maguire is at best cantankerous; at worst, the world’s biggest pain in the rectory. He barks replies, refuses to answer questions, and generally behaves badly because he’s old and can get away with it. Despite this, he manages to be extremely likeable. His bluster is like a summer storm – quickly forgotten.

Maguire is a 71-year-old Catholic priest who believes Australia would be better off if drugs were decriminalised, and who is receptive to the argument that private schools should be abolished.

He contradicts the Pope by saying the church should butt out of the contraception debate. He created controversy after taking confessions live on radio; he once blessed Crown Casino and angered Reverend Tim Costello; and he’s the oldest personality ever to appear weekly on Triple J.

I first became aware of him about six months ago, when I was urged by my mate Ben Barren to listen to the podcast of SUNDAY NIGHT SAFRAN, a show on Australia’s JJJ youth network about “religion, politics and hoochies”.

Since then I’ve been fortunate to chat with Bob in person a number of times and he’s my kind of bloke. No bullshit about him and he is on a mission to change things. The neighbourhood, the country, the church. And I want to help him get it done.

I’m proud to announce that this interview is actually Episode #1 of The Father Bob Show on TPN which will launch sometime in the next week.

If you want some more background on Father Bob, you can read his blog.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present, for your listening pleasure – the one, the only – Father Bob Maguire.