The Church Mouse received the following letter from an abused Good Shepherd parishioner, with a request that it be published here. The Good Shepherd Parish in Kelmscott, Perth, Western Australia has also been damaged by the Neocats. You can read more about it here.
8 June 2005
Archbishop Barry Hickey
25 Victoria Avenue
I must report to you about the most offensive behaviour of Fathers Richard Tomelty and Melvin Llabanes.
On 18 May, I was invited to visit Father Melvin so as to discuss the dates available for the use of the Parish Community Hall for the rest of this calendar year.
It was not long after that I realised that I was set up in an ambush. Both the priests started to interrogate me, with Father Richard beginning by demanding that I disclose to him particulars about those parishioners who were concerned about what was happening in our parish. He wanted to know who the leader was, where were meetings held, what was discussed, what prayers were said and so on. When I refused to be drawn on this I was called a COWARD by Father Richard. I responded by indicating that it was not me who was a coward but in fact it was him who was, for not having the fortitude to speak with the people concerned.
The statement and threat that really stood out was when Father Richard threatened me with ex-communication. To which I responded that he could try and do so. In a way it will be good if he follows through with this as I will go to as many media outlets as possible.
In some ways, after reading the Sydney Morning Herald and hearing about the chaos and destruction of yet another parish conquered by the Neocat army the time may not be far when people from our parish have no other option but to resort to this means of exposing the situation that exists here.
I must state, that I am aged 73 and suffer with very high blood pressure and was quite alarmed at the hostile attitude. I felt threatened and vulnerable, being alone and having to confront two ‘priests’ who were very visibly agitated and out of control. God forbid I suffer as a result of this then I know who the cause is and what to do about it. Let the record show that I have alerted you to this. The arrogance, bullying and provocative manner is fast reaching a point where tolerance by people such as me is becoming more and more difficult.
It is interesting to note that it is now Father Richard who ‘calls the shots’ in the parish as almost every action that Father Melvin takes he seeks approval from Father Richard.
Father Melvin too blew his top when I told him that he and Father Denis Sudla (who is having a nice time in Redfern) had snuck in to the parish to deceitfully unfold their Neocatechumen Way, which by the way, I find abhorrent. Father Melvin stood up and thumped the desk while he accused me and others of being the reason why the Salesians were pushed out of the parish. It is interesting and ironical that it is a particular family who are now ‘Leaders’ of his Neocatechumen Way here in Kelmscott who were the ones to start a petition for their removal.
Upon expressing my disbelief at this accusation from Father Melvin, Father Richard stood up and said to Father Melvin ( as he lifted his hand ) “Enough”. This did the trick as Father Melvin restrained himself and immediately sat down. Further adding to my thought as to who is in charge here?
Not finished yet, Father Richard went on to strongly tell me not to write to the Bishops as they have enough letters from you. They don’t want your letters?
I had to remind him that it was Father Melvin who had suggested about a year ago that we take our concerns to the Bishop rather than to him. Also, I indicated that I would need to keep writing as they were not receptive to dialogue with parishioners they opted not to communicate with. I concluded by saying that if need be, I would write to the Bishops superiors too if necessary.
One thing that I have quickly become aware of is never to be ambushed again by seeing these priests alone.
I might add that this is the second time that Father Richard has accosted me in a menacing manner. The other occasion being on the 7th January 2005, when he waited for all the parishioners to leave and then held me up in the parking area of the Church. He called me a clown and was quite threatening.
Your Grace what kind of priests have you sent us.
Your Grace, as you can see the situation here is still festering and it would appear that we have simply been ignored. Please do something by sending us at least one Mainstream priest from the St Charles Seminary. The situation will never get any better until this happens. In fact there is every indication that things will get worse.
Now, back to the beginning ... the use of the Community Hall. Once again we are being denied use of this in July and August. Co-incidentally, this is when the latest round of Neocat Recruitment takes place? Please may I call on you to act on our behalf to make available the use of the hall. All we are seeking is its use on any given Saturday in a month.
I know I may have taken up some more of your time, but how else am I going to convey what I have had to endure?
Yours in Christ
[CM October 2012 - After a little over a year, members of the St Vincent's community have not found Fr Melvin to be their ideal priest, but he is making a consistent and concerted effort to bring harmony to a fractured parish.]