AUSTIN, September 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After LSN ran a detailed investigative report yesterday drawing attention to the fact that a Rabbi who is on the board of Planned Parenthood in Austin was to lead Jewish worship services at a Catholic Church, the diocese of Austin in Texas has canceled the event planned for Saturday.

Austin Bishop Joe Vásquez has directed that the services of Yom Kippur for the congregation of Temple Beth Shalom not take place as planned at St. Louis Catholic Church on September 17 and 18. 
  
A statement from the diocese sent to LSN notes that “Bishop Joe Vásquez is aware of recent press and Internet reports that have questioned the appropriateness of the invitation having been extended to Temple Beth Shalom by Father Larry Covington, Pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church. In view of the fact that Rabbi Alan Freedman is a member of the board of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, and questions about the suitability of the use of a Catholic sanctuary by a non-Christian community, Father Covington has determined, in consultation with Bishop Vásquez, to withdraw the invitation.”

The release added: “After mutual consultation, Rabbi Freedman and Father Covington have also come to an amicable agreement that it is in the best interests of both communities that the services not be held at St. Louis Church.  Rabbi Freedman and Father Covington are both committed to continuing dialogue and building friendship between the local Jewish community and the Catholic Diocese of Austin. Dialogue between the two communities can perhaps include discussions of important moral topics surrounding the sanctity of human life, especially the unborn.  We hope that such a dialogue can also allow us to explore together a broad range of life issues.”

Moreover the release notes “Bishop Vásquez has invited Rabbi Freedman to join him in this dialogue soon after the conclusion of the Jewish high Holy Days.”

The release concluded: “The Catholic Diocese of Austin remains united in prayer with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and Bishop Vásquez extends to them his best wishes in this holy season.”

To voice your thoughts:

Diocese of Austin Texas  
Bishop Joe Vásquez  
Email: http://www.austindiocese.org/contact_staff.php?id=1859
Bishop's Office  
Pastoral Center  
6225 Highway 290 East  
Austin, TX  
(512) 949-2415