|HABITS? WHAT HABITS?|
CHURCH WHAT CHURCH?
The "Spirit of the Council"hobbles genially to oblivion in Pymble.
There are two churches in the Parish of Pymble - Sacred Heart at Pymble and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at West Pymble. West Pymble had been an independent Parish until some years back it was amalgamated with Pymble, which has the larger Church and the more central position.
Masses are maintained in both churches, but weekday Masses are onl celebrated at West Pymble on Monday mornings. The West Pymble church community has preserved its custom, evidently inspired by its last Parish Priest who died, but had long been the target of Broken Bay Diocese administrative persecution because of his orthodoxy, of reciting the shorter form of the Liturgy of the Hours before that Mass each Monday.
This morning, being a Monday it was West Pymble's turn to have morning Mass and so the "good ole'guys and gal"of the spirit of the Council "Parish Mission/Renewal"team descended on Our Lady f Perpetual Succour church. The Church is a modest building rather like a very well built Hall with a large entrance vestibule an uninterrupted Nave and a smsllish Sanctuary with Sacristy at the end. The Sanctuary is a little cramped but well fitted out with Marble Altars (including the ubiquitous "versus populum"altar and two well executed but simple stained glass windows. Two token side altars stand one on either side outside the Sanctuary proper.
The Church is always a haven of quiet devotion before Mass. Or rather, has always been. But this morning the spirit of the Council had arrived! She was dressed in black pants and a Mauve woollen Jacket and had positioned herself in the middle of the aisle just inside the doors from the Vestibule. Smiling benignly to everyone of the ladies in remote range , and issuing loud comments such as "Oooooo.. what a lovely..."commenting on someone's jacket. The general hubbub seemed to totally ignore the Presence light in the Sanctuary - as did "the spirit of the Council"and all the unfamiliar faces clustered about her.
Trying to ignore the noise I knelt in my accustomed place further up the Nave . After a time the Curate Father Mariusz - good fellow- came out from the sacristy and bade the folk clustered down the back to move to the front of the church. Minutes later in drab mufti, a genially smiling old gent wearing a pectoral cross wandered out suggesting people might care to move to the back he later introduced himself as Fr Nick Punch a member of the "team". He did not immediately mention that he is a Dominican, but then again, he had not bothered to wear the Dominican habit either. He later announced that Fr. "Mike"Champlin would be celebrating the Mass ( but I was relieved to see that Father Mariusz was also vested - so my concerns were relieved in ultimate matters).The genial smile fixed on his face Fr."Nick"then greeted the local Catholic School children as they filed in. Having introduced S;Joan Buckrey, he then went into the Sanctuary and sat beside her on a pew positioned where the construction of the Sanctuary obscured my view of the couple.
Father Nicholas Punch O.P.
Enter Father "Mike"Chasuble revealing the sports shirt it had been drawn over - thus no Alb and certainly no Amice. After a few introductory words Mass was underway, but novelty was to be our companion as Father "Mike"invited the children to join in the Introductory Prayer phrase by phrase after him. The readings of the day were rather formidable - from the Book of Kings dealing with God's punishment of Israel for its infidelity . Father "Mike"was not "shadowed"by the good Sister on this occasion and read the Gospel in a voice that must, in his younger years have benn spectacular in the American manner- but does not come across so well in old age. The subject was Our Lord's injunction not to judge, to be concerned withon's own faults before those of others. He was even allowed to preach a Homily, though it was rather truncated and simplistic though still not well tailored to the school children he was obviously aiming at.
The Creed was dispensed with, the Prayers of the Faithful were dispensed with - in their case the excuse being made that they would be dealt with in the Mission Session after Mass. This disclosed an ignorance or perhaps disregard, not to say contempt, for the integrity of the Liturgy of the Mass. Happily, good Father Mariusz was their concelebrating though the attitude of the "team "toward him seemed a tad strained. When the time for the Kiss of Peace, we found the good Sister, who had found the obscurity of her Sanctuary pew too much , burst forth in front of the Altar shaking every hand available and finally waving to all and sundry she remained, back to the Altar as the Agnus Dei began!
Holy Communion over, Father "Mike"before concluding Mass regaled the children with a Muslim prayer his brother , also a Priest, had brought back from missionary work in Northern Nigeria among the Muslims. No doubt this was an unusual reference point in the development of the childrens Catholic Education. Mass concluded ith "May Almighty God Bless US...."A nice prayer - but NOT a Priestly Blessing.
Enter the ever smiling Father "Nick"as the children file out and the remaining adults are invited to stay for the Mission Session. In a brief run-down on the Session and the week ahead Father "Nick", as had Father "Mike"and the good Sister yesterday, made reference on behalf of the team to "OUR TEACHINGS" .At the same time the word "CHURCH"(as in Catholic Church) has not been heard , the word "Pope"" has not been heard. No , something "other"is being proposed it seems.Could it be someting along these lines, described by Bishop George Pell as far back as 1988 :
Meanwhile - Back in the Catholic Church
Bishop Now Cardinal George Pell
"However, there is a tendency among a few, to distinguish the local community or church from the "official church", to question the need of a ministerial priesthood as distinct from the priesthood of all the baptised, to explicitly deny that priests must be male and celibate and to effectively downgrade the leadership of the Pope and bishops, while not excluding these institutions, in favour of an ostensibly communitarian model of Church government, led in fact by middle-order functionaries."
AD2000 November, 1988 - Bishop George Pell of Melbourne
Fit for Mission ? I think not. Read our earlier posts on the record of this dissident trio and judge for yourself from their own words.
Avoiding temptations against Charity, I gave the Session a miss and left the genial Father "Nick"after his two jokes, one Psalm and a dubious "hymn".