Another lockout letter

It is a great tragedy that our community has been subjected to this oppressive and abusive behaviour by priests of the church. The closing down of our Friday meditation and gospel reflection is not about theology or spirituality but about power abuse.

Since Father Prindiville has come to Redfern he has not engaged with the community but rather seeks to impose his authority in ways that stifle any dialogue. He has not engaged with the Aboriginal community who continually protest at the way they are treated. His sermons are continually about death and sin even at Christmas Mass. There is no celebration about the love of Jesus just sin, sin and more sin.

I was deeply shocked at the Christmas Eve Mass when after receiving the offertory gifts that were placed on the altar he swung his arm across the altar intent on sweeping it clear of any of the offertory gifts. One of those items was a small pottery figure of a black virgin and baby. There was an audible gasp in the church and shock that he would act in this way at the sacred moment of the mass. One of the community jumped from the front seat in the church and stopped the pottery from crashing to the floor.

What was Father Prindiville’s response? He sat down and arms folded and said there will be no Mass. This was the Christmas Vigil Mass, the church was packed and he saw fit to act in this abusive fashion. I personally am still reeling from that incident and now to see our community again being denied their time to reflect on a spiritual journey is something that we need to stand up against. For thirty five years our group has met at the church and reflected on the gospel. Fr. Prindiville sees it as his right to close access to our church. Enough is enough; this man has to be accountable to someone for his actions?

We have lost our Saturday Vigil Mass at the church. Now you have to go to his house and be subjected to a Neocat mass. It is a place where we are not welcome but tolerated. Fr Prindiville seems to use the Mass and Eucharist as a tool to control parishioners rather than a true celebration of what the Eucharist is – life giving in our journey of faith.

We will stand up against this behaviour and call on clergy and laity to be a voice in protest to practices that do not reflect the model that Jesus lived and taught us.

This is the life of the church today. Pope Benedict is giving edicts about guitars, colours of vestments and so on, yet our where is his voice regarding social justice and the members of his church – our church?

In the struggle .

Rhonda Ansiewicz…member of the St Vincent’s Community for over thirty five years.
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