In 2008, it appeared that the Archdiocese of San Francisco had finally cracked down, and forced San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer parish to cease its annual participation in San Francisco’s “Gay Pride” parade. At the time, Most Holy Redeemer pastor Fr. Steven Meriwether said that parishioners chose not to participate in the parade of their own volition. But, as California Catholic Daily reported at the time, Maurice Healy, director of archdiocesan communications, said that the chancery did request that Most Holy Redeemer stay out of the 2008 ‘Pride Weekend,’ including the parade. ‘It was probably a combination of that and the archdiocese talking to them,’ said Healy, when told that Fr. Meriwether had insisted parishioners made the decision not to participate. ‘At the parish level and the archdiocesan level, it probably was felt that it was a good idea.’”
Whether or not Mr. Healy’s speculation that MHR thought that non-participation in the parade “was a good idea” was true in 2008, it certainly is not true now. The May 15, May 22, and May 29 Most Holy Redeemer parish bulletins contained the item “PRIDE Outreach: May 29th. Short planning meeting after 10:00am Mass in Ellard Hall. For more information, contact Jim DeWan,” followed by Mr. DeWan’s email address. Mr. DeWan currently serves on the Most Holy Redeemer pastoral council.
The Most Holy Redeemer bulletin is not the only place the parish’s participation is being promoted. It was also promoted in the April 2011 issue of Communion, the monthly newsletter of “Catholics for Equality”—an organization that both Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Service and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC have said “cannot be legitimately recognized as Catholic” and “…not a Catholic Organization.” The editor of Communion, who is also a founding member of Catholics for Equality, is Most Holy Redeemer parishioner Eugene McMullan.
The Communion entry reads: “I am very pleased to announce to you that Most Holy Redeemer will be participating and have a marching contingent at this year’s annual Pride Parade. We are doing this, not under the banner of MHR, but as private Catholic citizens. We have reached out to other Catholic parishes, and have received enthusiastic responses. Fr. Steve (Meriwether) has generously given us blessing and support in this effort. We will be registering and signing up for the parade, but at this point are most likely not to have a booth at the after parade festivities, but would very much be interested in doing so in future parades, and events.” The entry also included Mr. DeWan’s contact information.
While the 2008 Archdiocesan statement referred to “this year’s parade,” it is impossible to see how any Archdiocesan objection to the parish’s participation in the 2008 parade would not be equally valid today. It is equally impossible to see how holding a meeting on archdiocesan property coordinating parishioners’ attendance at the event, and inviting members of other parishes to join, is any less objectionable.
The Catholic objection to the parade is that it is a celebration of “pride” in objective sin. If Catholic teaching on the nature of homosexual acts is true, being proud of those acts is an impediment to conversion, and the greatest possible spiritual danger. While Most Holy Redeemer certainly does not accept that teaching as true, the Archdiocese of San Francisco certainly does. Allowing such a planning session on its property is incompatible with that teaching.
As noted, Mr. DeWan is a member of the Most Holy Redeemer Pastoral Council, which, it is safe to say, is unique, albeit representative of the parish. Past members include Matt Dorsey, who successfully lobbied the organizers of the 2008 “Pride” parade to bestow the sarcastic “Pink Brick” award on his own Archbishop, the Most Reverend George Niederauer; former council member Catherine Cunningham and former council president Roz Gallo, who are same-sex “married” to one another; and former council vice-president Patrick Mulcahey who keeps a “slave,” and who in 2010 taught workshops on the Master/slave lifestyle at the 2010 Master/slave Conference.