Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fr. Cameron Ayers Takes Leave of Absence from Jesuits

From the May 10, 2009 bulletin of St. Agnes Church in San Francisco:

"Dear Friends, It must have been quite a shock to many of you when Father Cameron announced his intention to take a leave of absence from the Jesuits so that he could discern his own personal vocation...."

The bulletin message is written by the acting Pastor of St. Agnes, Fr. Raymond Allender, SJ.

"A Shepherd's Voice" has had occasion to comment in the past about certain actions of Fr. Ayers:

leading his parish in San Francisco's 2006 "Gay Pride" parade;

• hosting the "Alienated Catholics" seminar at St. Agnes (video link);

donating to the "No on Proposition 8" campaign, at a time when all the Bishops of California were calling on their flocks to not only vote for Proposition 8, but to volunteer and contribute financially to its passing.

Seen in this light, Fr. Ayers' felt need to "discern his own personal vocation" makes sense to us.

We join the parishioners of St. Agnes in prayer.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney


Emily Rodda said...

As a parishioner of St. Agnes, I would like to say that it does not feel as though you are joining me in prayer because I do not think we are praying for the same thing. In your blog posting you do nothing but attack and break down a priest that has been very dear to me. I imagine your prayers take the same tone. I would like you to know that my prayers are out of love and genuine hope that Father Cameron will have the time and space to discern his personal vocation. Continue to pray as you like, but please, remove the word "join" from your blog because I could not feel more separated from you.

Paolo D. said...

I'm also a parishioner of St. Agnes. I can't agree more with Emily. The works of Father Cameron in spreading the true message of the Golden Rule both on a personal level - helping me be part of the Christian family as well as helping me solve inner conflicts initially caused by erroneous ideas associated with "Catholic" tradition - and on a social level - work with the poor and involving the community in social action and awareness - show that there is hope for change in the future. Our prayers are with him as he figures out whatever he has to figure out, and for the Catholic hierarchy, bureaucracy and all of us to figure out how to truly Love one another without the guidance of individuals as inspiring as Fr. Cameron.

Cynthia Brooks De Martini said...

Father Malloy:

You are one of the reasons the Church is falling apart. I would rather have a priest who honorably takes a leave of absence for personal discernment than a pedophile priest who has broken his vows by committing heinous acts against innocent children (and, if I'm not mistaken, one of your own flock, a Salesian, was arrested for soliciting a male prostitute a while back.) Father Cameron is a brave man who believes in 'justice for all', or do you not remember that part of the United States Pledge of Allegience?

Phillip C. said...

I was baptized in St Agnes, and so many others in my family received sacraments there. I very faithful and holy priest, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. John T. Foudy, was pastor at the time. This church will always have a special place in my heart, but I do not like what has happened to it. The beautiful altar rails removed, and the baptismal font being taken out of the baptistry, and children being put in the baptistry during mass. Yes, there can be a room for crying children, but only if they are really distracting. The last time I was there, no kneeling during any of the Canon, including the consecration. I also know the Fr. Cameron asks to be called Cameron, not Father, because he is a "Jesuit." Someone who is very involved in this parish and who has served mass for him told me this. There is nothing wrong with Catholic Tradition. The reason why the Church in in this temporary, only temporary, state is because of a widescale suppression and abandonment of our Tradition. How could a priest contribute out of his own pocket funds to a campaign seeking to destroy marriage and the family. Is this Fr. Cameron's fault? Of course not. It goes back to his superiors, and those who instructed him in seminary. The Jesuits, once the best and most prestigious, must return to the original intention and spirit of their founder, St. Ignatius, as well as return to the example of Sts. Francis Xavier, Aloysius Gonzaga, Robert Bellarmine, Edmund Campion, and Blessed Miguel Pro. The purpose of the Church is the salvation of souls, to get all of us to heaven. It is peace and good, or brotherhood. These are all good things, but are not the primary mission of the Church. Let's look at another beautiful church of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius. TVs are being installed in spaces where side altars should be. We must embrace all of our Holy Faith including tradition. Stop the pop, contempo music, and bring back awe inspiring chant and polyphony. Bring back the kneelers, to receive Him whom all should bend their knees for. Defend the pope and the magisterium, do not second guess them. Don the cassock and biretta, and be an inspiration to all the nations. If you want to be a guerilla fighter, be a fighter, not a priest.

St. Ignatius of Loyala, Pray for Us!
St. Agnes, Pray for Us!
All Jesuit saints and martyrs, Pray for Us!

Anonymous said...

I am a cradle Catholic and have only felt "welcomed" in 47 years in 3 parishes, Immaculate Heart High School in So. Cal, St. Paschal's Baylon in Oakland when Fr. Robert was there and at St. Agnes when Fr. Cameron was there. Hmmm was is the common thread. Ahh yes, all intelligent, open and welcome role models of what living and being Christ like is about. I was in Catholic education for 22 years serving a secondary dean for an all girls school, vice principal and principal for Catholic Elementary schools and have only attended Catholic schools, USF and St. Mary's for grad school.

The fear of change blocks anymore growth for the church. I love how these spiritual leaders taught me to believe in myself, create a respectful and loving relationship with God and to embrace, not patronize, one another.

I'm seriously considering converting to another Christian faith that is more accepting, as Christ was.