Homosexual Activism in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Part III: Most Holy Reedemer

Most Holy Redeemer: Ecumenism

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Most Holy Redeemer: Ecumenism

 

We restate our thesis about the nature of MHR:

"Most Holy Redeemer is not a Catholic church with gay members. It is a gay spiritual institution that is willing to use Catholicism, including the sacraments, just as far as they can be made "inclusive" of the formative experience of the parish, which is homosexuality, and no farther."


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Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than MHR's variety of Ecumenism. Like all religions, the religion at MHR is quite willing to practice "Ecumenism" when there is nothing vital to its identity at stake. As long as that's the case, MHR is perfectly happy to accomodate other "denominations."

From Fr. Godfrey's book:

“(Rev. Jim) Mitsulki (of Metropolitan Community Church) has very fond memories of ‘Fr. Tony’ (McGuire)…Mitsulki speaks of a certain revolving-door factor operating between their respective congregations. Some attended services at both churches . . . Sometimes parishioners from Most Holy Redeemer went to MCC for same-sex weddings they could not hold at MHR.” -Godfrey "Gays and Grays..." p54.

On December 1, 2006, MHR hosted Rev. John Kirkely. Rev. Kirkley is an Episcopal Priest serving in San Francisco. From his website:

"I'm a priest of the Episcopal Church serving a small, growing, progressive parish in San Francisco. Prior to ordination, I worked in the non-profit sector for about a decade, ultimately focusing on fundraising. I'm an INFJ and an Enneagram One. Married to my partner, Andrew, for 12 years, we have one son, Nehemiah."

On December 4, 2007 MHR held an Advent Vespers service. The guest speaker was Dr. Ora Prochovnick, President of Sha'ar Zahav Congregation. From their webpage:

"Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, the Congregation of the Golden Gate, is a progressive Reform synagogue, established in 1977. We are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual Jews, together with family and friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish."

The speakers at Most Holy Redeemer's 2010 Advent Vespers Services included Episcopal Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson. Rev. Johnson is a member of the doctoral faculty at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and the Senior Director for Academic Research at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.

Another speaker was the Rev. Jeff Bert. Reverend Bert has served as associate pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. The MCC is a Church whose founding principle is the celebration of homosexuality:

"In 1970, a group of queers dared to create their own church."

Visit California Catholic Daily for more about the speakers at MHR's 2010 Vespers services.

And of course the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Sisters did not just magically appear at the Archbishop's Mass on October 7, 2008. One of the earliest "SPI's" Jack Fertig, decribes his experience at MHR:

"When I spoke with Sr. (Cleta Harold) about entering RCIA, I was clearly not about to compromise anything regarding my sexuality. I didn't go into a lot of details, but I showed up in my Levis and leather jacket and talked about my background as a Gay activist, clearly not about to change that…I talked about my background with witchcraft and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and my disagreements with certain points of the catechism. Sister never batted an eyelash, but asked if I could show up Sunday mornings at 8." Jack Fertig (aka "Sister Boom Boom" of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence) quoted in Godfrey p 42.

Since that Christmas, MHR and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have continued to interact from time to time.” Godfrey, p40.


So: good relations with certain Protestants, Episcopalians, Jews, and Wiccans. But the obvious deciding factor, the factor that makes the "ecumenism" possible, is a shared celebration of homosexuality.


But that Ecumenism only goes so far. There are limits:

“Dear Archbishop,

A week ago Friday, October 15, I was appalled to see the headlines of the San Francisco Examiner read ‘Catholics antigay Funds.’ As a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Church, I cannot accept the decision of the Bishops of California to allocate financial assistance to Senator Knight’s Protection of Marriage Committee.” (Proposition 22, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman). Letter from Fr. Zachary Shore to Archbishop William Levada." -Godfrey p115.

"The institutional Church is blind, 'just doesn't get it,' in the same way Jesus was initially blind and didn't get it with the Canaanite woman. A parish such as MHR calls the rest of the institution to conversion…" -Godfrey, p130.

"I don't believe that the institutions and hierarchy and the structure that makes pronouncements about gay and lesbian people is the church Jesus founded."
-MHR Pastoral Council Member Catherine Cunningham, quoted in Godfrey, page 132.

"The Catholic Church is not a credible moral voice within the gay community." -Godfrey, p153

We do not believe our thesis can seriously be challenged: the organizing community experience at MHR is not Catholicism, but homosexuality.

At MHR, one's religious affiliation is irrelevant--what matters is one's attitude towards the celebration of homosexuality. That is the issue on which compromises will not be made, where differences will not be tolerated--because that is the real lived religion, not Catholicism.

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