Monday, February 16, 2009

Why St Mary's has to die

"The Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, John Bathersby, has terminated Fr Kennedy's appointment from this Saturday after complaints St Mary's was no longer "in communion with the Roman Catholic Church".

At the South Brisbane church, unorthodox masses are conducted, women can preach and homosexual couples are blessed." - The Australian, 16 Feb 09

Last Sunday, I went to Mass at St Mary's Catholic Church in South Brisbane. I've never been before - I go to Catholic Mass once a year, in Melbourne at Christmas with my father. I'm not a Christian, although I grew up in the church, a dreary, rule-bound institution. I went to Mass because I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about.

The critics are right - St Mary's is unrecognisable as a Catholic service. Where was the mostly empty cathedral, with just a few elderly faithful huddled in corners? Where was the mind-bogglingly dreary liturgy? Where were the dirge-like songs, so suitable for funerals?

At St Mary's on this day, people overflowed from the pews and sat on the floor. Small children ran about and played in the toy corner. Lesbian couples came with their parents and their children. Aboriginal people sat next to Buddhist nuns.The place was alive with energy. Parishioners got up to ask for support with their projects: a rebuilding effort in Vanuatu; bushfire relief for for Victorians. The hymns were joyful songs of praise, energising and uplifting. The priests seem human, filled with enthusiasm and love for their parish.

It's clear why St Mary's must be stopped. Imagine the devastating impact on the Catholic Church - on the world - if congregations like this were allowed to thrive and grow! It's a vibrant, questioning community. They care about each other; they've found their spiritual home. One man found it hard to stifle a sob as he addressed the congregation: 'I'll miss you," he said.

St Mary's is a travesty of the Catholic religion. Catholicism stands for paedophilia, for misogyny, for the Inquisition, for collusion with Nazis and the brutal regimes of South America. It stands for rigidity and centralised authority and mindless obedience. It stands for a God who is petty, judgemental and warmongering. St Mary's is alive with love and joy and above all, acceptance. And there's no place for that in the Catholic Church.

It has to go.


Kelly & Sam Pilgrim-Byrne said...

How sad...

Deborah said...

I find it hard not to think of the Catholic Church hierarchy as the Paedophile Protection Society. And heaven forbid that it be a church of love.

This is a fantastic post.