February 2005

St Mary's Matters

The strange happenings at Brisbane's 'alternate' Church

Those are the words printed on the T- shirts available for sale in St. Mary’s Church, South Brisbane. They are also the words printed on the top of the large pink notice board at the back of the church on which have been displayed all the press clippings that have appeared in the local and other media since the “invalid baptism” controversy became a public scandal in Nov-Dec 2004.

“St Mary’s Matters” alright! The priests and community leaders at St. Mary’s who have taken this phrase as their slogan have hit the nail on the head but not for the reasons we believe they had in mind. To them the phrase reflects the arrogant defiance they have demonstrated from the beginning. To them it shows they are reveling in the publicity they have generated.

It’s as if they are saying: “St Mary’s Matters! Just look at all the publicity we have had! Wow! Just look at the letters of support we got in the public press! Just look at the support letters that were happily printed in the Archdiocese’s own paper “The Catholic Leader”! Just look at the public support we got from the pulpit by a Dean of the Archdiocese! Who can touch us? It’s business as usual at St. Mary’s because ‘St Mary’s Matters’.

Yes, St Mary’s does matter. Because St. Mary’s South Brisbane demonstrates, both as a forewarning and as an example, of where the Queensland NewChurch is heading. St Mary’s today! Similar dissident, disobedient parish churches scattered throughout Queensland tomorrow!

An exaggeration you may say: that can’t happen. History suggests that is exactly what will happen. When dissenting doctrines are adopted and allowed to flourish over the years; when disobedience, beginning in small matters, is tolerated until truth itself is deliberately obscured or disregarded then integrity is lost and disintegration follows. The Catholic Church is a hierarchical institution, authority flows from the top, from the Holy Father, whose mandate is from Our Lord Himself: “Whatever you bind ….whatever you loose…” The bishops’ authority does not exist apart from or separate from this but is rather or should be a manifestation of it.

The proliferation of literally thousands of different Protestant sects is a stark example of the breakdown of authority.

St Mary’s continue to behave liturgically as if the Archbishop Bathersby had not uttered one word of reprimand: correct vestments are not worn, the words of mandated prayers of the Mass are changed, instead of administering Holy Communion one of the St Mary’s priests receives Holy Communion from a lay person, the congregation continue to recite the words of consecration with the priest.

To deliberately flaunt this defiance there is another T-shirt on sale at St Mary’s with the slogan: “My Karma ran over your dogma”. Make what you will of that! In fact it’s a regular market at St Mary’s. T-shirts, coffee beans and, of course, Father Kennedy’s “Heavenly Drop” bottled water all on sale. Fr. Kennedy has extended his “Heavenly Drop” marketing to Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese. He mentions a number that are buying his product, including Lourdes Hill. St Rita’s, Padua College, Chisholm College, Marists Rosalie, and others.

A good example of Queensland NewChurch co-operation already in action!