San Francisco Archdiocese on BBC “Gay Mass”: It was not a Mass and We Didn’t Endorse it



By Hilary White
  SAN FRANCISCO, April 27, 2007 ( - The Archdiocese of San Francisco is refuting the Evening Standard’s claim that a service to be broadcast worldwide this Sunday by the BBC from a San Francisco parish is a "gay Mass".
  With the headline, "BBC to broadcast gay mass from San Francisco" the Evening Standard reported today that the event, recorded last October 22, was presided over by Jesuit Fr. Donal Godfrey with preaching from one of Britain’s leading homosexual theologians, James Allison. The Standard reported that the "Mass" will feature prayers and readings tailored for the gay community.
  Maurice Healy, Communications Director for the Archdiocese, however, was adamant that what will be broadcast is neither a Mass nor endorsed by the Archdiocese. Healy told, "The event was not, repeat not a ‘gay mass’ it was a prayer service organized by Jesuit father Donal Godfrey."
  Healy said, "I’m told that he organized it. It was not an archdiocesan function and the archdiocese was not aware of the BBC broadcast."
  The BBC’s Radio4 Religion and Ethics Sunday Worship program will broadcast the event held last October 22 at Holy Redeemer by Fr. Godfrey, of the University of San Francisco.
  Godfrey, of the University of San Francisco, is a regular at Holy Redeemer and focused on the openly gay-supporting parish for his Doctorate of Ministry degree. On October 8th 2006, he gave a homily there entitled, "Finding God in the Erotic." 
  The sermon to be broadcast this weekend was presented by James Allison, a homosexual theologian and author of the book, "Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay," that is described as "a stunningly original re-imagining of the Catholic faith…from the gay perspective." The British Allison has also authored "Is it ethical to be Catholic? - Queer perspectives."
  Holy Redeemer is well known as the "gay" parish of San Francisco and sponsors a contingent of parishioners who march in matching t-shirts identifying their affiliation with the parish in the Gay Pride parade. The parish website carries photos of the pastor of Holy Redeemer, Fr. Stephen Meriwether, dressed in Mass vestments blessing the participants outside the church.
  Lewd homosexual bingo nights staged as benefits for the parish’s AIDS ministry in which sex-toys and pornographic DVDs were handed out as prizes, were stopped after the events became public and the archdiocese received complaints. The bingos were organized by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a radical homosexual activist group who dress up in bizarre parodies of nuns’ costumes and are widely known for hostility towards the Catholic Church.
  When asked about the participation of the parish in the Gay Pride parade, Healy responded, "Their participation could be seen as a way of outreaching. They don’t have the archdiocese’ approval but Catholics are independent minded people."
  When asked directly if Holy Redeemer is the gay parish in San Francisco, Healy said, "These are complex issues." He continued, "We don’t make differentiations between gay parishes and other parishes. We don’t take a census about ethnicity, or homosexual orientation."
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