The Vatican responds

Back in the middle of 2007 the community sent letters and copies of a detailed report on the Redfern Neocat experience to a number of senior bishops in the Vatican. Some of the letters may be found here. To date only one reply has been received – from Archbishop Mauro Piacenza on behalf of the Congregation for the Clergy (Congregatio pro Clericis). His letter is reproduced below.

It is difficult to take seriously Piacenza’s claim that the Dicastery studied the May 2007 report when he pronounces that Archbishop George Cardinal Pell is the one in charge here and managing the situation quite nicely, thank you very much.

The Cardinal was sent a copy of the report. He has not commented on it. He has not sought clarification from the community of any of the issues contained in it. He has not even acknowledged receipt of it.

Impressions of Piacenza’s open-mindedness are not enhanced when he introduces a technicality to cast doubt on the validity of the community’s complaints by choosing to define parishioners as “those who reside within the territorial limits of a specific Parish”. Canon lawyers are not all of the same opinion on this matter, many preferring to define a parish as the community of people who attend regularly in a particular place or Church, a definition with emphasis on people rather than institution, and one that more appropriately fits many contemporary Australian parishes.

The report that the Dicastery allegedly studied clearly sets out how the community sought help from every level of the Australian Church – parish priest, archdiocesan Vicar-General for clergy (Reddon), local Bishop (Fisher), local Archbishop (Pell), Bishop Convenor (Saunders) for the Catholic Bishops’ National Conference on Aboriginal Affairs, Canon lawyers, State Professional Standards Committee, and National Professional Standards Committee, and the Australian Conference of Bishops.

It documents how all but Pell side-stepped the issue with the same advice – go away and talk to the Cardinal!

And what about the Cardinal? It also documents how not one of the many entreaties to him over the last four and a half years has resulted in meaningful dialogue. On the contrary, his responses have been at best perfunctory and dismissive, at worst, public vilification of the community in the Australian press.

Meanwhile, here in Redfern the Cardinal’s Neocatechumenate clergy continue to divide the parish.

In front of the altar, just before Mass one morning before Easter, an elderly nun, a member of the community, was physically attacked by a woman apparently influenced by the Neocat sect. As the blood streamed from her face another young Neocat gleefully clapped his hands. Although the Cardinal’s Neocatechumenate priests witnessed the assault, they have yet to offer a word or gesture of comfort.

They continue to deny the community pastoral care and shun those whom they cannot control. They continue to misrepresent Canon law in denying Holy Communion to parishioners and continue to threaten to call in the State Police to remove parishioners from the Church.

Many of the community feel completely abandoned by the Church – denied all justice, love and support.

Dear Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, here in Redfern the matter is far from closed – it remains wide open, an agonising gaping wound.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply