Skip to comments.Text of public apology from Abp. Niederauer
Posted on 10/12/2007 10:46:38 AM PDT by NYer
A recent event that greatly concerns me needs some additional explanation -- and with it an apology. On Sunday, October 7, 2007, I celebrated Mass at Most Holy Redeemer Parish here in San Francisco, during my first visit there. The congregation was devout and the liturgy was celebrated with reverence. I noticed no demonstration, no protest, no disruption of the Eucharist.
At Communion time, toward the end of the line, two strangely dressed persons came to receive Communion. As I recall one of them wore a large flowered hat or garland. I did not recognize either of them as wearing mock religious garb.
Afterward it was made clear to me that these two people were members of the organization "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence," who have long made a practice of mocking the Catholic Church in general and religious women in particular. My predecessors, Cardinal William Levada and Archbishop John Quinn, have both denounced this group's abuse of sacred things many times in the past. Only last year, I instructed the Administrator of Most Holy Redeemer Parish to cancel the group's use of the hall on the parish grounds, once I became aware of it.
In the year and a half since I arrived in San Francisco, there have been several instances of offensive attacks on Catholic faith and devotional life. Only two weeks ago Catholic San Francisco carried my remarks condemning the derisive use of the image of the Last Supper on a poster printed by another local group.
Although I had often seen photographs of members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, I had never encountered them in person until October 7th. I did not recognize who these people were when they approached me.
After the event, I realized that they were members of this particular organization and that giving them Holy Communion had been a mistake.
I apologize to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and to Catholics at large for doing so.
The manner of dress and public comportment of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is deeply offensive to women religious and to the witness of holiness and Christian service that women religious have offered to the Church and to the world for centuries. The citizens of San Francisco have ample reason to be grateful to women religious for their unfailing support of those most in need, and to be deeply offended when that service is belittled so outrageously and offensively.
Someone who dresses in a mock religious habit to attend Mass does so to make a point. If people dress in a manner clearly intended to mock what we hold sacred, they place themselves in an objective situation in which it is not appropriate for them to receive Holy Communion, much less for a minister of the Church to give the Sacrament to them.
Therefore I conclude that the presence of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the Mass on October 7th was intended as a provocative gesture. In that moment I failed to recognize it as such, and for that, as I have said, I must apologize.
At first I thought Kerry was wanting communion again.
The Archbisop’s apology is accepted.
This is good to see. He made a mistake, and instead of denying it or trying to downplay it, he apologized.
I wonder when the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" will take their act to the local Islamic Mosque, especially since fundamentalist Islam calls for the death penalty for homosexuality while the Catholics just call it sinful. If these guys had any b***s, they would mock the Muslims as much or more so than the Catholics. < / s >
I accept his apology.
Now where is the apology from the clowns?
Bump. God bless him.
I too am glad that he apologized.
But in the light of the above, is it fair to say that he saved himself from the charge of abetting sacrilege only by demonstrating mental deficiency?
God forgive me, but I don't see how he wouldn't have known that these men were members of SPI.
The Abp could at least have focused his sermon on God's heartfelt desire to have every soul in TRUE communion with Him, which involves repentance and a conversion of life. He might have also mentioned the spiritually lethal consequences of receiving the Blessed Sacrament unworthily, while conscious of grave and unconfessed sin.
This would have been prudent considering the open perversion-promoting activities for which the parish is notorious, not only in San Francisco but across the country.
Moreover, the Abp could do what I've seen reverent, God-pleasing Orthodox priests do at their Liturgy, when a manifestly scandalous person of very dubious spiritual preparation comes up for Communion. The priest puts a paternal hand this shoulder and says, quietly and confidentially, "I cannot give you Holy Communion right now, dear son, but I need to speak with you. Go now in peace and see me after Liturgy."
And then, if the person has anything to confess, he can confess it, and the Abp can give him communion after this holy Reconciliation. This would be truly a loving and pastoral response, rescuing souls like the Good Shepherd Himself, without exposing Our Lord to sacrilege and His people to scandal.
Apology accepted. Let us then continue with the Lord’s work.
Give the man credit for this.
I hope he also orders his clergy to avoid the same mistake he made in giving these individuals the Eucharist, and sets about doing everything he can to retroactively catechize the entire archdiocese with regard to authentic Catholic teaching on homosexuality and its practice.
I kinda agree with your assessment. The archbishop has pleased not guilty by reason of being dumber than roadkill.
pleased = pleaded
I admire him for apologizing. I am still disappointed but will give the man the benefit of the doubt. I’ve never done his job so am unaware of any blinders that may be put on before communion. I hope that his eyes will open and he’ll be a little more aware in case something like this should occur again. He could just give them a blessing and refuse communion without making a scene. Of course, with folks dressed like that it’s already a parade. *sigh*
In an ideal world, the celebrant would be alert and aware at all times of those who are coming up to receive, and ready to make a discerning judgment.
But I know that in a long Mass I sometimes go on autopilot myself -- and I'm just a member of the choir in the back of the balcony, not up there in the sanctuary in front of God and everybody, trying to keep track of the priests and deacons and altar boys and how long the anthem is running and whether the ushers have any more people in the back . . . .
So he's probably not pleading guilty by reason of stupidity -- just distraction and inattention.
Besides, the way folks are in that part of the world, it might not be too easy to distinguish the provocative from the just plain odd . . . .
Poor old guy.
I’m with you. This should not have been a case of invincible ignorance.
However, there should be posted on all churches the dress code required to attend Mass.
I have seen parishes in other parts of the country that forbid the wearing of shorts and other clothes that is inappropriate for Mass...
There is a Federal Law by which the Sisters of Indulgence can be asked to leave church -- it the FACE Act. Though it was passed to prevent people from denying entry into an abortion clinic, Reagan Republicans (and Reagan) put language in that makes it a Federal Offense to interfere with a Religious Service.
Certainly, the disruptive DRESS of the Sisters of Indulgence is something that needs to be addressed and handled by parishes...
Actually, the Bishops [nationwide] need to set forth guidelines, and once done, these people [clowns] can be prosecuted under the FACE Act. This is a Federal Law that makes it Felony to disrupt a Church Service.
There whole idea is to dirupt the Mass...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.