By Hilary White
SAN FRANCISCO, October 23, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On October 7, two homosexual men, dressed in costumes meant to mock the traditional habits of Catholic sisters, were filmed receiving Holy Communion from San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer. Reaction to the incident forced Niederauer to apologize publicly for what he called his “mistake.”
Now Father Stephen Meriwether, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Parish where the Mass was held, has told the Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesan newspaper, “This incident has been blown way out of proportion.”
The two men are members of an anti-Catholic homosexual activist group condemned by faithful Catholics, and even by the San Francisco Archdiocese, for its campaign against the Church. The Eucharist is the Catholic Church’s central act of worship and reception of it indicates, among other things, that a person is in full agreement, or “communion”, with the Church.
Meriwether said, “It is most unfortunate this incident has clouded the fact the archbishop came to meet with his people and celebrate a beautiful and reverent Mass together—and that is what really happened.”
The group, called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, is a militant anti-Catholic homosexual organization that has as their slogan the injunction to “go and sin some more”. They were banned from using the parish for their fundraising bingo nights when it was revealed to the press that activities involved sexual games and that prizes included porn DVDs and “sex toys.”
Public tax information has shown that Catholic Charities of San Francisco in 2005 received a $1000 donation from the “leading order of queer nuns”, funds raised in part by the sexually explicit games at Most Holy Redeemer. The records show that the “Sisters” netted $3300 per game. Net bingo income, after expenses, was reported as $15,232.
The week after the communion incident, archdiocesan officials were forced to intervene to have the same parish remove from its website a portion of the weekly church bulletin that carried a message from one of the “sisters” thanking Archbishop Niederauer for the Mass. The man calling himself “Sister Delta Goodhand” called the parish “a wonderfully inclusive church.” He wrote, “It was great to be able to participate in the Mass.”
Maurice Healy, spokesman for Archbishop Niederauer, told LifeSiteNews.com that “Its no secret that a contingent of the parish has participated in the [Gay Pride] parade for years.” Healy could not say for sure whether such participation was of concern to the Archbishop: “I don’t know whether he has focused on that”. Healy also told LifeSiteNews.com that the archdiocese is aware that the San Francisco Gay Pride activities include full male nudity and public sex acts.
A report by the Catholic News Service also reveals that one of the other priests celebrating the October 7th Mass with Archbishop Niederauer was Fr. Donal Godfrey, a Jesuit who led a quasi-liturgical event in April this year for active homosexuals. At that event he praised the parish for its work in furthering the homosexual movement’s goals. Godfrey noted that Most Holy Redeemer parish was the place where the rainbow flag “was first invented… for use at San Francisco’s Gay Pride in 1978.”
The nature of the “Sisters’” bingo, as well as the film showing the Archbishop giving the two men Holy Communion, was widely distributed on the internet through a network of faithful Catholic weblogs and subsequently to a far larger audience by news services such as LifeSiteNews.com. The pressure created by the internet is clearly being felt by the Archbishop who was quoted in the Catholic News Service story complaining about the power of Catholic “bloggers.”
“The blogosphere,” Niederauer said, “is a kind of dangerous endless recess in a global schoolyard, where the bullies with the biggest bullhorns can shout whatever they want.”
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Archbishop Tells Catholic Church to Remove Thank-you from Transvestite ‘Sister’ from Online Version of Bulletin