Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Catholic San Francisco" and Proposition 8

Back on December 18, 2008 I posted on Catholic San Francisco's publishing of a letter from two men who proudly proclaimed in their second sentence that they were same-sex "married." They then proceeded to take Archbishop Niederauer to task for his defense of natural marriage.

In response, I sent this letter to Catholic San Francisco, but it wasn't published:

"With the December 19 letter from Michael Vargas and Martin Bednarek, outright scandal is published in the pages of Catholic San Francisco. Messrs. Vargas and Bednarek have not only unilaterally decided that homosexual actions are not sinful, they proudly declare they are married.

Messrs. Vargas and Bednarek are parishioners of, no surprise, Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro. But they are more than parishioners. Mr. Vargas serves as a lector, and as of 2007, Mr. Bednarek was a member of the music ministry. This is not unusual at MHR. There are at least five other parishioners who have “married” their same-sex partners and who serve at Mass as either lectors, Eucharistic ministers, or acolytes at the church. There is nothing hidden about any of this--it’s all public record. The parish willfully disregards Church teaching whenever it conflicts with the celebration of homosexuality. I’ll substantiate that statement in the pages of CSF at any time.

I thank His Excellency for his support of Proposition 8. But what good does that do if the Archdiocese accepts same-sex “married” persons serving in its own ranks? The salvational mission of the church is far more important than any state law. What does this say to a same-sex attracted Catholic, struggling to live his or her life according to the church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage? Such persons do exist, and the continuing Archdiocesan tolerance of MHR scandalizes them in the purest sense of the word."

Then, in the January 9 edition of the paper, they published two more letters in the same vein.

Again I responded, and again my response went unpublished:

"Since the passage of Proposition 8, it seems a new weekly feature has appeared in Catholic San Francisco: letters to the editor from same-sex attracted “Catholics” (and not only Catholics) attacking the bishops of the Church for doing their jobs.

A few weeks back it was a same-sex “married” couple upbraiding the Archbishop. The January 9 edition included a letter from A. M. Bowling asking: “If it is true, as the Archbishop asserts and I believe, that ‘all people are God’s children and are unconditionally loved by God,’’ then why does the Church treat some of us differently?” That is about the opposite of the truth. It is some same-sex attracted Catholics who are demanding to be treated differently. While claiming to seek nothing but equality, they are in fact demanding a privileged position for the commission of their habitual sin—demanding it not be called what it is: a sin.

There is also a letter from Daishin Sunseri, past member of the “Gay Buddhist Fellowship,” advising us to deepen our “self-awareness.” Good advice is always welcome, I guess, although why CSF keeps publishing letters from people who share neither Catholic morals nor belief is kind of a mystery. Perhaps the idea is that a free exchange of ideas is good. But the Church is not a debating society—Jesus established it for our salvation. There’s no sense in an Archdiocesan newspaper giving equal time to the promotion of sin.

The letter from Daishin Sunseri was especially interesting, because it content suggested that the author was a person outside the faith looking in. Googling the author's name brought up "" as the first result. It turns out Daishin Sunseri is (or was) a well-known member of that organization. So, the author of a letter attacking the Catholic Church is a same-sex attracted man who is not a Catholic. Now, that "investigative reporting" took me about 4 seconds. Was that too much effort for the editors of Catholic San Francisco? Is it too much to ask that the editors of a "Catholic" newspaper refrain from publishing letters from non-Catholics attacking the Catholic faith?


Fast forward to the January 30, 2009 issue of the paper. The editors chose to run a column by Sr. Eloise Rosenblatt. According to the credit below the column she is a Sister of Mercy as well as an attorney in private practice. (Whatever happened to Sisterhood being a vocation?)

Sr. Rosenblatt is also quite well-known. I've posted about her here, when she was a scheduled speaker at the 2008 "Northern California Lay Convocation" held at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. The Northern California Lay Convocation was a "Call to Action" seminar in all but name. Sr. Rosenblatt also spoke at the 2005 West Coast Call to Action conference. California Catholic Daily has reported on her activities here, here, and here.

What jumped out at me from her column of last week was this sentence:

"Authentic Christian teaching reverences the body, supports marriage commitments, and promotes attentive, mutual love of spouses for each other."

Christian teaching does not support "marriage commitments," it supports marriage. Now, why would anyone swap the ambiguous term "marriage commitments" for the word marriage? That change of "marriage" to "marriage commitments" has only one effect--it deliberately undermines Church teaching by degrading marriage to the level of other commitments. Given the current battle the Church is fighting in defense of natural marriage, such a change in definition is what we would expect from our enemies. And it is also what we would expect from a person who has spoken at Call to Action conferences, because Call to Action supports same-sex "marriage." (see here and here)

I repeat the question that was in both my unpublished letters to the editor: why are such deliberate attacks on Church teaching permitted in an Archdiocesan newspaper?

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney


Anonymous said...

The Archbishop has either lost faith or lost courage. The more I pray for the Church and the bishops, the more it seems that prayer is futile. What is the point of striving to live as a faithful Catholic if the Church's own shepherds and institutions don't value fidelity? I feel so, so alone... so, so hopeless... so, so out of place... so, so wearied... so, so angry... so, so like a fool who is wasting my life.

Psalm 13: How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I carry sorrow in my soul, grief in my heart day after day? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look upon me, answer me, LORD, my God! Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death, Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed," lest my foes rejoice at my downfall. I trust in your faithfulness. Grant my heart joy in your help, That I may sing of the LORD, "How good our God has been to me!"

Joshuasfriend said...

At age 86, my dear colleague, you are close to meeting your Lord, your God, and your Saviour. Do not fool yourself by saying you are young.

Moreover, by this point you ought to know that the only thing we are certain of is our own sinfulness. Do not stand up to point your finger at someone else like those who tried to stone the woman caught in adultery. It will be a shock to find that the despised, including homosexuals, will be more worthy than yourself.

This is Lent, brother. Work toward your own conversion, preach the same to others, and leave their own conversion to them. All you are called to do is to love.