Community response published in The Tablet

The following letter appears in the latest issue of The Tablet. A copy was provided by Michael Hirst, Foreign News Editor.

The community of St Vincent de Paul Redfern, Sydney welcomes the opportunity to comment on your recent article (18/6/5) on tensions created by the appointment of the Neocatecumenal Way to St Vincents.

In relation to the night in question, the allegation of misbehaviour by the priest, contained in your article remains accepted by the community. The table/organ stool was irreparably damaged. The community wishes it to be known that the calling of the police by the Neocatechumenal Priest was the aftermath of the heat generated by a simple question put to him in response to his actions: “Are you a friend of the Aboriginal people?”

There was no disruption of liturgy by the parishioners The Bishop’s quote of “defying the appointed celebrant” misses the point. The community considers the actions of the priests, both in the restrictions on liturgy and the above mentioned behaviours, violate the orthodox liturgy of Redfern.

The community consists of outstanding individuals who have forged deep and varied links with indigenous individuals and communities through their professional and their personal lives. The spectrum of disciplines within the community is very broad indeed. It is in the spirit of inclusive hospitality that such people gather around the Eucharist.Together these individuals constitute a dynamic community, not mere ‘disciples’ of Fr Ted Kennedy. Very few knew him in his days as a university chaplain.

Perhaps the most sad and telling fact is that Bishop Fisher is more ready to call on the constabulary than he is to dialogue personally with this community.

St Vincent de Paul community, Redfern.

Elisabeth Burke,
Peter Griffin,
(Sr) Esmey Herscovitch R.S.C.J.
(Sr) Mary McGowan F.M.D.S.C.
Sydney
Australia.

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