The opinions expressed in the report prepared by Fr Don Richardson and architect Harry Stephens of the Liturgy Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney are just that – the ideas of two people. The Chairman of the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board has another take on some of the issues raised in the report, as the following comments indicate:
… some basic considerations about the mural, altar and other liturgical items that seem to be under threat are:
- Liturgical art and architecture norms notwithstanding, the cultural heritage context of the St Vincent’s community, and especially its narrative since Fr Ted Kennedy commenced his prophetic ministry at Redfern, ought to be taken into account. Vatican documents on cultural heritage would support this.
- The recognition and value of enculturation in a Catholic community as mixed as St Vincent’s, even if expressed in liturgical art and sacred furnishings that do not conform to ‘mainstream’ expectations and interpretation of liturgical norms.
- The consistent use of said items by the community until relatively recently; and the possibility of incorporating them in a redesigned setting.
- The symbolic value attached to the mural, in that it conveys more than the message of its words by signifying the hopes of Indigenous Catholics – and of many others in the Australian Catholic community – for the Church that ‘Jesus wants us to become’; moreover, Bl. JPII will soon be sainted: would the mural and his words be under threat if they were not about Aboriginal and TSI peoples?
I pray that all concerned might find a peaceable and respectful way forward.