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...
A very succinct summation. I have never seen anyone at a Catholic mass wearing white-face, clearly male, clearly mocking the church. Doesn't the bishop look at who he's speaking to during a homily? Doesn't he look at who he gives communion to? Roadkill could be considered generous.
His appointment as bishop of that diocese was a huge mistake.
His explanation sounds reasonable to me. I’m good with it.
I will give the Archbishop the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, he really ought to see an ophthalmologist. Maybe he has cataracts. That is the only reason for not recognizing that the person who was not wearing the flowered garland was, in fact, wearing a mock wimple.
First of all, knowing what this archbishop has done in the past wrt the sodomites in SF, the apology is truly lame. We will keep an eye on him when someone wearing a rainbow sashe come up for Communion in the future.
Secondly, given the explanation he has given on the account, it would be impossible for him to state he could not recognize Nancy Pelosi coming up for Communion, as pro-abort politicians are even more provocative and offensive to the Catholic Faith. Better yet, the archbishop should announce way in advance pro-abort and pro-sodomite politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Gavin Newsom will be denied Holy Communion.
There is no way on earth the good Archbishop could not have known what the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were or have somehow missed the fact that these two twits came up dressed in a way intended to ridicule nuns and Catholicism in general. He makes way too many mistakes as far as homosexuals go, and I believe he was known for doing so in his previous diocese (if I remember correctly some people posted things to this effect at the time of his surprising appointment to SF).
I was stunned when the Pope appointed Levada to his position, and even more stunned when he filled Levada’s place with Neiderauer. I can only assume he didn’t really know what was going on; although supposedly one of his advisors on the US was Fr. Fessio, who spent much of his life in SF and on the West Coast and should know the players.
In any case, having Apb Neiderauer disingenously claim that he’s just such a ditz that, silly him, he completely missed the way these guys were dressed and knew absolutely nothing at all about their group is just plain ridiculous, and I don’t think his letter was much of an apology at all.
I bet he does now! ;-)
One would think they’d follow their own press clippings. I wonder if they still have those clipping services that follow all the papers and send you every piece that mentions you. Haven’t heard that anyone’s started one for the Internet, but it would probably be a good idea.
Of course — as is only too apparent since the MP came out — too many bishops have a real talent for ignoring what they don’t want to see!
Mr. Claret and I listened to “Al Kresta in the Afternoon” yesterday while we were in the car. The Archibishop’s spokesman was on and said pretty much the same thing as the letter. We thought it was just damage control. Mr. Kresta gave a full 30-35 minutes to this story, and was very skeptical, too, and thought it was just incredulous that the Archbhishop had not known who they were. Mr. Claret and I both agreed that the Archbishop probably never thought that anyone would find out and had no clue that it could be photographed and around the world in a matter of hours. We concluded that the Archbishop had decided it was better to appear an out-of-touch fool who had clearly not done his homework on this parish, than to appear to have known who they were and have given them Holy Communion, anyway. Mr. Kresta now has the video posted at “Ave Maria Radio.” I don’t know how big his audience is, but I expect that it includes a lot of people who didn’t know about this story before he aired it.
This whole episode should be a lesson to all the clergy that the faithful are watching them, taking notes, and will report to the Vatican and the world if necessary. The power of the Internet with blogs, forums, YouTube, etc. is truly a God-given blessing! Incidents which could previously have been hidden are now being brought out into the light. IMO, the reporting of these kinds of episodes will become more frequent as the laity realize they have the ability to expose these abuses and are not afraid to do so.
I finally watched the video. Unbelievable. Niederauer apologizes for not recognizing that the perpetrators of this sacrilege wore mock religous garb. But what about the attire in general? Is it ok to give communion to men dressed in drag, wearing clown make-up? It’s crazy.
Me too. I have heard that the pope chose Levada because of a long personal friendship and trust that the two enjoyed and that Benedict wanted someone close to him to fill his old position so he could retain control over it. I can be somewhat pollyannish about the Church so I accept this explanation.
As for the appointment of Niederauer I have no explanation, and think it a huge mistake. SF needs Corapi.
The archbishop acknowledges that he noticed "two strangely dressed persons." That in itself is a grotesque understatement, apparently put forward to satisfy readers who have not seen the pictures. Niederauer goes on to say that he "did ot recognize either of them as wearing mock religious garb." Perhaps not. But he could not have failed to recognize that they were wearing garish costumes, clearly designed to attract attention and to make a point. And what was that point? Someone who stopped into Most Holy Redeemer parish after having spent the last several years on a remote desert island might not have been able to discern the purpose of this strange demonstration. But ordinary residents of San Francisco knew exactly what was going on, and the archbishop is taxing our credulity yet again when he claims that he was in the dark.
Most Holy Redeemer is a notoriously gay-friendly parish, in a hotbed of gay activism. Just a week before the archbishop's visit, the parish had hosted a competition among "the Bay Area's Most Delicious Drag Divas." Archbishop Niederauer himself disclosed that he had once ordered the parish administrator not to host an event for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a militant group whose main purpose is to mock Catholicism. When he visited the parish, therefore, the archbishop must have been keenly aware of the likelihood that he would encounter homosexual activists in general, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in particular. When these two demonstrators approached him in their bizarre attire, he should have known-- must have known-- what he was facing.
In his "apology" the archbishop says that he did not recognize the two men as members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. But can he seriously expect us to believe that he did not recognize them as homosexual demonstrators? The archbishop's statement suggests that the protestors' main offense was membership in a group that mocks the Catholic faith. But whether or not they belonged to a particular organization, these two men were quite clearly challenging the Church by their presence at Mass, and especially by presenting themselves for Communion. The Church, in the person of the archbishop, failed to meet that challenge.
If Niederauer really did not notice anything unusual about the demonstrators, then he would have no reason to apologize-- except, perhaps, for being spectacularly obtuse. But even when he expressed his regrets about the incident, the archbishop failed to grasp the essential element of the scandal. "The manner of dress and public comportment of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is deeply offensive to women religious," Archbishop Niederauer wrote. That is true, but terribly incomplete. The behavior of these defiant homosexual protestors is deeply offensive to all Catholics. Far, far more important, it is deeply offensive to Jesus Christ, whose Body and Blood they desecrated with the archbishop's compliance.
A priest, and particularly a bishop, has a sacred duty to guard the Blessed Sacrament, to protect our Eucharistic Lord from disrespect. The archbishop's failure to carry out that duty-- and not the attendant public-relations brouhaha-- is the true scandal here. Personally, I can't accept Archbishop Niederauer's apology, because I cannot believe that it is candid or accurate. But it is not I to whom an apology is due.
This is rubbish. Nobody is objecting to them because of "over-accessorizing." The fact is, they are flamboyant, in-your-face members of a group whose whole raison d'etre is the mockery of decency and the promotion of perversion, sacrilege, and blasphemy.
It's not like there was any ambiguity whatsoever. A KKK white pointy-hooded robe signifies that the wearer is a racist from the Klan. A regulation uniform and badge means the wearer is a police officer. A mitre, crozier and ring means he's an Archbishop.
The crozier, by the way, represent's a shepherd's "rod and staff" and it indicates a big guy who'll use his strong right arm protect the lambs and dismay the wolves--- and not the other way around.
We expect a man in drag with a name like Sister Fanny Flaminpants to act like a homosexual whore. I wish we could expect a Bishop to man-up and act like a Bishop.