Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco Bows to Homophobia

Contact the Rainbow Sash Movement

The Rainbow Sash Movement is saddened by the lack of moral courage on the part of Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco. At least three gay and lesbian clergy members were disinvited from participating in Advent services at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the Castro, the Bay Area Reporter has reported.

The Reverends Jane Spahr and Roland Stringfellow were among those asked not to participate, as was retired Episcopal Bishop Otis Charles. All three were scheduled to take part in Most Holy Redeemer’s Advent vesper services.

By bowing to homophobia the Archbishop speaks volumes about his character. However, the courage and faith of both the priests and lay people of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco to stand opposed to homophobia in the Church remains a wonderful example of what can be done in shinning the light of the Gospels on hypocrisy. Their example of walking the talk in the service of their ministry of welcome in the Castro has saved the lives of many people who would have otherwise died of HIV/AIDS

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says homosexual behavior is “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstance can it be approved.” However, the Catechism also teaches that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

Reasonable people in the Church understand this to be a schizophrenic position. You either love your neighbor or you don’t. The Good Samaritan did not use a litmus test of dogma before he/she acted; it is that example which will ultimately win the day in our struggle against the sin of hate in the Church.

If the Gospels have taught us anything it is that if you want to find God in your life seek out your neighbor who you may not like or understand. The priests and lay people of Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco have shown by their example of faith and love that they understand this wonderful truth of our faith. The parish continues to be a place of welcome for Gay and Lesbian Catholics in spite of the Archbishop’s lack of moral courage.

Jack Anderson
Rainbow Sash Movement

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