Some background notes to Fisher’s extraordinary letter

The letter reproduced below was handed out by Denis Sudla, who officiated at today’s Mass at St. Vincent’s Redfern, on behalf of the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney’s Catholic Archdiocese, Anthony Fisher OP.

You will see that it threatens NSW Police action if the Catholic liturgy at the church is “disrupted” by people “doing things”.

It might be noted that:

  • Fr Ted Kennedy, who worked at the same church for 30 years, formed the current community and devoted his life to the poor, especially Aboriginal people, died only last week, and the community is still in grief about this;
  • Ted encouraged a Liturgy which committed the community to the poor (a simple altar on bare boards, Aboriginal involvement, symbols of poverty and Aboriginality, extended Prayers of the Faithful, and so on) and the current community wishes this to continue;
  • Sr Marnie Kennedy, a member of the community and Fr Ted’s sister, wrote to Bishop Fisher more than 18 months ago and received, after an extended time, a perfunctory letter of a couple of sentences with no mention of her appeal for help against the installation at Redfern of the Neo-Cathechumenate priests who represent the exact opposite form of Catholicism to that which her brother had encouraged;
  • Bishop Fisher has not visited the parish to understand its concerns or hear from the parishioners;
  • The Council of Vatican 2 encourages lay participation in the construction of appropriate liturgies for each community; and
  • Pope John Paul on his visit to Australia demanded that the Church hear the voice of the Aboriginal people and their concerns. Redfern is its Sydney centre.

They waste no time.

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