By John-Henry Westen

SAN FRANCISCO, February 13, 2006 ( – Questions have swirled about Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment of former Utah Bishop George Niederauer to be Archbishop of San Francisco, a post Archbishop Niederauer took up this week. With its reputation for being a hotbed of the “gay subculture” many were looking at how the new archbishop would address the matter.

From recent indications, some Catholics are now especially concerned about the archbishop.

The San Francisco Chronicle has posted an interview with the incoming archbishop, conducted by the paper’s ‘gay and lesbian issues’ newsman Wyatt Buchanan. During the interview, Archbishop Niederauer makes a disturbing statement which could easily imply that while pedophilia is abnormal, homosexuality is certainly not.Â

In the interview Wyatt questions Niederauer about a statement noting that homosexuality cannot be seen as the cause of the sexual abuse scandal. Niederarer responds, “People who see the sex abuse scandal as having as ‘the’ cause the sexual orientation of the priests, I felt they are mistaken. Because when we’re talking about pedophilia we’re talking about a sickness, an illness, an aberration.”

In response, Catholic World News’ famed blogger Diogenes points out that the Catholic Church considers homosexuality itself as abnormal (Â). According to the Catechism, the Church teaches, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law.” It adds that even the inclination itself is “objectively disordered.” (see the reference )

The interview also reveals a strange interpretation of what the Vatican meant when it barred from ordination to the priesthood men with “deep seated homosexual tendencies”.Â

While most have interpreted the Vatican statement literally to mean that those who have lasting and non-fleeting homosexual tendencies cannot enter seminary, the archbishop interprets it very differently. According to the new archbishop’s understanding “someone who is going to be a priest has to be able and willing, and this has to be tested by time of course, has to be able and willing [sic] to subordinate all relationships and conduct all relationships with others in a way that’s compatible with a celibate lifestyle . . . And I think that would be true also for the heterosexual candidate.” The interviewer then asks the obvious question, “Then why single out homosexuals?” That’s because, says the archbishop, the issue is much more front and center “since Stonewall.”

Beyond that, Niederauer had this to say when asked what he thought of the film Brokeback Mountain. While the film has been condemned by pro-family groups as a dangerous homosexual propaganda film, Niederauer admitted to seeing the film and remarked on it saying it was “very powerful”. He added that “one of the lessons (of the film) is the destructiveness of not being honest with yourself and not honest with other people and not being faithful, trying to live a double life.”

The interview is available for download here:

See coverage of Brokeback Mountain
  USCCB Changes Rating on Brokeback Mountain to Morally Offensive