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Brisbane archbishop condemns 'spying' in church

Archbishop John Bathersby has said that taking notes during a service with the intention of using that material to complain about what was taking place is disrespectful.

The Courier-Mail reports that the archbishop was responding specifically to complaints he had received about the masses at St Mary's Catholic Church in South Brisbane and Fr Peter Kennedy.

He said that regardless of how unorthodox the mass might be perceived as being, it was still an act of worship and should be respected.

"People from the right wing of the church will go along and have little notebooks and take notes, and that is also not honouring the presence of the body and blood of Christ," Archbishop Bathersby said. "In other words it's spying on an act of worship."

Fr Kennedy said it was a rare opportunity for the two men to agree.

"People have no right to be doing this sort of thing. They have no respect for the mass and they have not respect for the liturgy," Fr Kennedy said. "They see the mass as so sacred and yet they come in and take notes."

Archbishop Bathersby said it would not be possible to report adversely on the content of a service while respecting what was taking place. "I don't like that (spying) one bit," he said.

"I think it still is an act of worship, even though there is a great deal of unorthodoxy about it at St Mary's. It still is an act of worship and I don't think it's right to be a part of that and neglect the fact that worship is taking place."

Bathersby condemns 'spying' in church (The Courier Mail 4/12/04)

Archdiocese of Brisbane
Catholic Parish of South Brisbane
Vatican Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum

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6 Dec 2004