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Catholic church in San Francisco disinvites gay ministers

December 23, 2011 |  5:36 pm

The Rev.  Jane Spahr, left, a Presbyterian minister, performs a same-sex marriage in 2008.
A Catholic church in the heart of San Francisco's historically gay Castro District has been forced by the archbishop here to rescind invitations to three homosexual members of the clergy who had been scheduled to speak during pre-Christmas services.

Archbishop George Niederauer “felt the speakers were inappropriate for the season of Advent, which should be a time to reflect on the coming of Christ,” George Wesolek, spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the newspaper, Archbishop George H. Niederauer demanded that the pastor of the Most Holy Redeemer Church disinvite the Rev. Jane Spahr, a retired Presbyterian minister who has fought for gay rights in her own church; the Rev. Roland Stringfellow; a minister with the Metropolitan Community Church; and retired Episcopal Bishop Otis Charles.

As the Chronicle tells it:

The issue of homosexuality is a thorny one for the Catholic Church, which holds that while same-sex orientation is acceptable, gay or lesbian sexual activity is not. That means that parishes like Most Holy Redeemer, where it’s estimated that a majority of the congregation is made up of gays and lesbians, have to straddle a narrow line between the requirements of their religion and the needs of their parishioners....

“It’s a very delicate pastoral situation,” Wesolek said. “There are a lot of wonderful gays and lesbians who attend Most Holy Redeemer, but there are parameters that must be followed.”


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Photo: The Rev. Jane Spahr, left, a Presbyterian minister, performs a same-sex marriage in 2008. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press