Resurrection of parish woe

From The Australian, 12 April 2004

by Vanessa Walker

The Catholic congregation at St Vincent’s church in Sydney’s Redfern has little to celebrate this Easter.
Members of the nation’s largest Aboriginal congregation are embroiled in a dispute over theology and the liturgy with their priest and his conservative order, the Neocatechumenal Way.
Most parishioners, who for 30 years prospered under the care of social justice advocate Father Ted Kennedy, are committed to the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council They believe Christ’s love is expressed through a direct relationship with the disadvantaged people of Redfern.

Father Gerry Prindiville, appointed in 2002 after the congregation had his predecessor dismissed for alienating them, believes in the traditions of Catholicism and the uniformity of the liturgy.
Many parishioners believe he was appointed to bring St Vincent’s into line with the conservative Archdiocese of Sydney under Cardinal George Pell.
In the lead-up to Easter, disaffected members of the congregation launched a website, church-mouse.net, which covers their disputes with the priest.
They accuse Father Prindiville of refusing communion to outspoken parishioners and say he disregards practices such as community members joining the priest in the Washing of the Feet.
Father Prindiville says such innovations are aberrations of the liturgy and that much of what is published in emails and on the website is "innuendo and lies".
Congregation member Brother Michael Gravener wrote to Cardinal Pell this week asking him to intervene in "a serious abuse of clerical power".
"Your clerics have been nothing short of incompetent," he wrote. "People have been both physically and verbally attacked by your clerics and have been judged and denied the Eucharist."
The archdiocese refused to comment.

Footnote by Church Mouse:
Gerry Prindiville removed himself from the community’s email group on April 12

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