Most Holy Redeemer parish in the Castro District of San Francisco is an "I'm okay, you're okay" church. You want to come dressed as a "Sister of Perpetual Indulgence" - okay. Want to come to Communion hand in hand with your same-sex lover -- okay. You're a guy who wants to attend Mass dressed in a mini skirt, make up, and heels? - okay. Hold a function in the hall where you strip and simulate sex acts? - okay. Well...at least it's been that way for years under pastors like Fr. Steve Meriwether who always blessed those attending the annual pride parade with a big church banner.
But a showdown appears to be coming with the appointment of Bishop Salvatore Cordileone to San Francisco. Recently a fundraiser at the parish traditionally emceed by drag queens was cancelled when the "gays" refused to agree to a ban on the cross dressing men. Then the business manager, Michael Poma, insisted that it had nothing to do with banning drag queens. The parish was just not allowing any more non-parish events in the church hall including weddings, etc. A reporter from KQED who interviewed an archdiocesan spokesman last week was told that they did not ban drag queens, but instituted a new policy several months ago closing church facilities to outside groups and the pastor misspoke.
Poma says the new pastor Rev. Brian Costello is "learning" and his welcome message on the parish website certainly plays the multi-gender game. Here's how he describes his parishioners: "old, young, married, gay, lesbian, transgender, affluent, homeless, blue-collar, converts, cradle Catholics, radical, traditional, questioning, fervent." It makes one wonder whether the pastor agrees with the Australian Human Rights Commission that there are 23 genders. The gender bender crowd insists there's a difference between sex and gender with only two sexes, but apparently unlimited genders. Wow! It would seem that the first imperative of a Catholic evangelist is to tell the truth. Does encouraging the let's pretend world of homosexuality really do that?
There is speculation that MHR is "at a crossroads." Bishop Cordileone doesn't take over until October 4th, and perhaps this flap now is a shot across the bow as a warning. There is some question whether Bishop Cordileone had anything to do with the drag queen decision in the first place. The Archdiocese says no. Others believe he did. In any event, it's clear that MHR will bear watching in the weeks and months ahead as Bishop Cordileone takes over in San Francisco. Will there be a shootout at the I'm okay corral between truth and the lie? Or will it be business as usual? One thing's for sure. The new bishop needs our prayers. Let's make sure he gets them!