Pell accuses Redfern Catholics over "intimidation, harassment"

With Redfern parish priest Fr Gerry Prindiville taking leave from the troubled inner Sydney parish, Cardinal George Pell has hit out at "sad and shameful attitudes" by parishioners whom he accuses of mounting a "program of intimidation, harassment and disturbance".

Cardinal Pell said that parish members treated their parish like an unruly political branch meeting, the Sydney Morning Herald reports

But parishioners say Cardinal Pell has appointed conservative priests insistent on "imposing an alien and hostile form of religion and liturgical worship" and has ignored their pleas to intervene.

Parishioners have taken their complaints against the priests of the Spanish-based Neocatechumenal Way to the Vatican.

They say the priests have called Aborigines heathens, subjected churchgoers, particularly women, to bullying and verbal abuse, and withheld Holy Communion.

"Ours is a parish that is hurting and Cardinal Pell's failure to hear and respect our concerns is a measure of his lack of pastoral care," said one parishioner, Elisabeth Burke.

Cardinal Pell confirmed that Fr Gerry Prindiville, who had struggled to gain the support of parishioners, has taken leave and been replaced by Fr Clesio do Nascimento Mendes. Both are missionaries of the Neocatechumenal Way, installed by Cardinal Pell four years ago.

Cardinal Pell told the Herald that parish priests and lay missionary families at Redfern were making progress.

"But as a priest and bishop for 40 years I have never encountered anywhere the level of rudeness and disruption often foisted on worshippers at Mass. Interjectors seem to regard Mass as something like an unruly branch meeting of a political party.

"Reverence for the sacred appears extinct among the agitators ... These are sad and shameful attitudes," he said.

But parishioners say that they were rebuffed in their offer to reopen communications with the new parish priest.

Redfern parish at war with its priests (Sydney Morning Herald, 1/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vincent's Parish, Redfern (Sydney Archdiocese)
Neocatechumenal Way official website
Fr Ted Kennedy (

Redfern meditation group locked out (CathNews, 21/3/07)
Redfern parishioners want to reconcile with parish priest (CathNews, 25/8/06)
Redfern parish priest appeals for cooperation (CathNews, 18/8/06)
Indigenous mural shock at Redfern parish (CathNews, 31/7/06)
Threat to memory of Redfern's Mum Shirl (CathNews, 2/5/06)
Death of Redfern's Fr Ted Kennedy (CathNews, 18/5/05)
Priest denies Redfern church is "for the Aboriginals" (CathNews, 29/7/04)

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