Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oodgeroo St. Mary's Treaty Brisbane


There are circles that radiate out from Father Kennedy’s modern approach to Catholic liturgy and Social Awareness. St. Mary’s Parish in South Brisbane appears to be an affluent parish. It’s members are no doubt educated, socially aware and well healed.

A local Aboriginal Group has stepped in and accused Archbishop John Bathersby of racial discrimination regarding an announced mediation between the Archdiocese, St. Mary’s and Father Kennedy. That the judge/arbitrator hand picked by the Archbishop is known and has been accused of bias against Aboriginal Rights in the past.

The Archbishop would appear to already have stacked the deck against the good flow of positive energy at St. Mary’s on the way to turning it into a deserted, hack run, shambles ready made for a quick sale on the real estate market.

Brisbane Catholic Archbishop accused of racial discrimination

The St. Mary’s Treaty was signed during a well-attended mass with the congregation of St. Mary’s and members of the local Aboriginal community witnessing it. The treaty was celebrated in coroborree in accordance with Aboriginal customary law and written on paper in accordance with non-Aboriginal law. It is real.”

“The Archbishop has appointed Ian Callinan to mediate between himself and St. Mary’s. When Ian Callinan was a high court judge he had to be forced off the Hindmarsh Island case because of his bias against Aboriginal claims of rights and interests. The Archbishop’s choice of mediator is an example of the contempt of Aboriginal law, culture and rights that he appears to hold. His blanket refusal to discuss the treaty is another.”

“The Oodgeroo Treaty Circles are asking the Archbishop and the Brisbane Archdiocese to confirm and support the St. Mary’s treaty which involves innovative Aboriginal welfare and social justice programs such as dry camps, a cultural heritage education program and the facilitation of Aboriginal men’s, women’s and elders business. The treaty process provides non-Aboriginal Australians a direct relationship with Aboriginal culture and programs. This path of healing is being obstructed by the Archbishop’s refusal to even acknowledge Aboriginal rights and interests, let alone work pro-actively with them.”

I do no know if this is a nuisance lawsuit to give some weight and or support to Father’s Kennedy and his wanting to possibly retire and leave his life’s work in good hands and not to some clerical hack - not wanting to hand it all over into the uncaring hands of someone who will destroy the work of so many good, faithful and enthusiastic people's work through the years.

The lawsuit is a way of expressing great thoughts, solidarity and continued awareness regarding a racial tension and situation that appears to still exist in the front lines of society in Australia. It is situation that St. Mary’s in its own limited way has tried to address.

Apparently Father Kennedy had entered into some sort of treaty with the Aboriginal group that his parish also serves.

Father Kennedy is no Saint Oscar Romero but without trying to totally diss the Archbishop of Brisbane, I can see where he let this thing go on too long and he can’t find a suitable replacement for Father Kennedy and his progressive RC congregation. You just don’t get it! Do you John?

Or has it always been planned this way. In the bowels of the Vatican, Progressive Churches like Saint Mary's in South Brisbane and like Vatican II itself, they were always planned to be temporary successes and long term failures?

I do not see the parish or the priest or the Aborigines in any win-win with the RC hierarchy in Rome pushing hard for a quick and immediate end to thoughts and radical Christian ideas from people with serious hearts and serious faith.

I may or may not have understood or properly or fairly presented this to you if you are reading this. I am an outsider. I think the basic plot is universal.

Good luck you to all down under. My prayers are with you all.