WASHINGTON, DC, December 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An organization dedicated to advancing acceptance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church is thanking the archbishop of San Francisco for tolerating a San Francisco church’s activism for their cause.

Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco, a parish that is known nationally for its homosexual activism, invited Otis Charles, the former Episcopal bishop of Utah, to preach at its November 30 Advent Vespers service.

Charles is well-known for having publicly ended his marriage of 42 years in 1993 and announcing he was homosexual. In April 2004, he “married” his partner in a ceremony attended by his nine-year-old grandson.

The Rainbow Sash Movement, which lobbies for the Roman Catholic Church to give its homosexual and transgendered members Holy Communion, says it is “encouraged” that Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer made no move to prevent the non-catholic homosexualist spokesman from delivering the homily. “We believe this is significant step in courage on the part of the Archbishop, and he should be applauded for not being panicked into canceling the planed Advent service,” they wrote.

The organization stated the archbishop “appears to be defusing homophobia in his archdiocese” and hoped his nonfeasance meant “there is division among the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the Church on how to openly and honestly welcome gays and lesbians into the Church.”

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Another pro-homosexual, non-Catholic cleric is scheduled to address Holy Redeemer’s December 14 Advent Vespers. The parish’s bulletin states the speaker will be retired Presbyterian Church (USA) minister Jane Spahr. Last year the PCUSA found that Spahr violated her ordination by performing 16 same-sex “marriage” services in contradiction to church discipline.

The San Francisco archdiocese has not yet signaled it will prevent her from speaking.

Abp. Niederauer has a troubled history with Holy Redeemer church. In 2007, he was filmed at the church giving Holy Communion to the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of pro-homosexual men who wear outrageous makeup and dress as nuns in public. When asked at the time, the archdiocese told LifeSiteNews.com that the archbishop did not notice the communicants’ “mock religious garb.” Abp. Niederauer later apologized for his actions and asked that a notice thanking the archbishop for being “so welcoming” from one of the mock sisters, “Delta Goodhand,” be removed from the parish’s online newsletter.

Abp. Neiderauer’s record on homosexual issues has been criticized by concerned Catholics. In 1992-4, Neiderauer served as a priest at St. Victor’s Catholic Church, a largely homosexual church in West Hollywood, where parishioners say they had no conflicts with him over the issue. In 1996 as bishop of Salt Lake City, he demonstrated against a bill banning “gay-straight alliances” in Utah’s high schools. In 2004, he opposed Utah’s ballot initiative defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.  In December 2005, he said it was “seriously mistaken” to name sexual orientation as “the cause of the recent scandal regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests.” In 2006, he called the film Brokeback Mountain “very powerful.”

The parish, Most Holy Redeemer, has become infamous for inviting pro-homosexual speakers to address its vespers series. Retired auxiliary bishop of Detroit Thomas Gumbleton spoke at a 2008 Advent vespers service. Although the Catechism of the Catholic Church states homosexuality is “grave depravity” that is “objectively disordered,” Bp. Gumbleton had stated, “homosexual people are not disordered people.” In 1994, he wore a bishop’s miter that featured a cross, a homosexual rainbow, and a pink triangle, and has long favored the ordination of homosexuals. The Vatican forced him to resign in 2006.

Homosexual websites have dubbed Holy Redeemer one of the most “gay-friendly” parishes in the United States. Its website describes the church membership as “married, gay, lesbian, transgender…radical, traditional, questioning, fervent.” Its pastor, Fr. Stephen Meriwether, was placed on temporary leave after allowing the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to hold a bingo fundraiser that observers reported gave away pornographic DVDs and “sex toys.” Fr. Meriwether previously blessed his parish’s representatives in a Gay Pride March. In 2008, the parish’ lector, Philip Carrizosa, “married” his homosexual partner.

LifeSiteNews.com contacted George Wesolek of the archdiocesan communications office but did not receive a reply as of press time.

Contact information:

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
One Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 614-5500
info@sfarchdiocese.org