Hope for St Vincent’s?

For eight years the job definition for parish priest of St Vincent’s Redfern could well have included essentials such as:

  • Drive away Ted Kennedy’s supporters;
  • Drive away the Aborigines; deny that they come to this church;
  • Don’t engage with non-Neocat parishioners; don’t listen to them; don’t talk to them if it can be avoided; Keep them in the dark regarding parish matters;
  • Ignore and/or deny their reasonable requests;
  • Tell them they aren’t Catholics; that they are not welcome in this church; attack them from the pulpit;
  • Keep looking at the time when in their presence; rush out of … Continue reading

Mendes’ legacy?

Mendes’ homily last Sunday was notable – not only because he used it to announce that this had been his last Sunday Mass as pp of St Vincent’s, but also because for once it actually had some semblance of structure and coherence, leading one to wonder who had written it for him.

The content, however, was sadly still the same old rubbish, with the message of the gospel reading of the Sermon on the Mount somehow warping into a diatribe on obedience, a favourite theme.

He thanked his fellow travellers on the Way for their support, as well as the … Continue reading

Dialogue with Neocats

Yesterday a delegation from the community approached pp Mendes after Mass to express their concern over the growing number of items that have disappeared from the church. An attempt was made to read out the following statement:

We recently realised no-one has reported to you that yet another item is missing from St Vincent’s Church. For some weeks now we have not seen a framed print of a well known modern painting called The First Supper, which has been hanging at St V’s for many years. The original painting was entered in the Blake Prize for Religious Art. It features … Continue reading


The following article appeared on page 7 of Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Catholic faithful dig in for new battle

THE faithful of St Vincent’s Catholic Church, Redfern look set to outlast another conservative priest – but they are still waiting to have their prayers answered.

A group of long-time parishioners at the inner-city church have again come into conflict with its clergy, this time over a spontaneous approach to the prayers offered in Mass.

The approach is in keeping with the more vernacular and inclusive style of worship celebrated at the urban indigenous parish since the leadership of late … Continue reading


Despite the intense feelings of abuse and loss at having the Easter ceremonies celebrated(?) begrudgingly and with a palbable emanation of loathing, the Church Mouse remained silent, giving space to the deeply distressed community to voice its own concerns, which it certainly did, with a number of individuals writing to the heirarchy.

The sorry story is told in their letters, some of which are reproduced below.

The first collection of letters was addressed to Cardinal Pell and Mgr John Usher (Chancellor) of the Sydney Archdiocese.

Your Eminence,

We write once again in reference to the relationship between the Parish Priest, … Continue reading

Fundamentalism or Neocat poetry?

The following opinion piece, Religion is poetry or it is nothing!, by Paul Collins, appeared in ABC Religion and Ethics Online last December, and was subsequently picked up by Cathnews (as Opinion – Threat to religion is from fundamentalism not atheism). Our own Sheila Quonoey reproduced the article in the March edition of her "Thoughts for the Month".

A couple of dozen or so copies were still floating around the back of the church this morning until defender of the church Mendes seized them, having decided that they were unsuitable material. He also commanded that the … Continue reading

One Day at St Vincent’s – what they didn’t do for Sr Pat Durnan

The following is a detailed account of the Neocat "memorial" for Pat Durnan by Peter Griffin, who was present last Tuesday.

The recent passing of (Sr) Pat Durnan has been an occasion for yet another eruption of dysfunctionality in the relationship between the church community of St Vincents Redfern and the incumbent priests – both members of the internationally established and Vatican approved group known as the Neo Catechumenate.

Pat was, of course buried with due respect and celebration in Melbourne. Nonetheless there are many in Sydney who remember her with fondness and wished to mark her loss to … Continue reading


Sunday 11th July 2010.
St Vincents Redfern.

The Church Mouse has reported infrequently in recent months on the blatant abuse of clerical authority at St Vincent’s, not because things are settling down between the community and the Neocat clergy, but in the interests of providing a less incendiary space for all concerned.

From time to time the ever present tensions erupt and sometimes the story simply must be told. Last Sunday was such an occasion; it left the community doubting the very validity of Clesio Mendes’ 10am Mass.

The Mass began uneventfully enough after the customary argie-bargie between Clare … Continue reading