Skip to comments.Jesuit Priest Professor Says Archbishop Was Correct in Giving Communion to Transvestite 'Nuns'
Posted on 10/18/2007 6:51:48 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
SAN FRANCISCO, October 17, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The story of the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" receiving Communion from the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco has been major news since the occurrence on October 7. However, despite the fact that the story made it to Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, the local San Francisco media refused to cover it until today. (see the O'Reilly coverage: http://www.foxnews.com/video2/launchPage.html?101207/101207_... )
In a separate segment, O'Reilly railed at the local media for failing to cover the story. And it seems the verbal spanking had a salutary effect.
However, the San Francisco Chronicle which published a story entitled "Archbishop apologizes for giving Communion to gays dressed as nuns," also published today a puff piece promoting the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence". (see: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/17/... )
Beyond that, the Chronicle was able to find a Jesuit Catholic Priest Professor willing to come out publicly saying that giving communion to the two transvestite 'sisters' was the right thing to do. Rev. Jim Bretzke, professor of moral theology at University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university, told the Chronicle: "While I can see Bill O'Reilly and others might be offended, the sisters do not meet the criteria the church has for denying Communion."
"The general sacramental principle is that you don't deny the sacrament to someone who requests it," said Bretzke in a statement clearly at odds with Catholic teaching on the matter as voiced recently by Pope Benedict XVI just prior to his being elected Pope.
While Bretzke admits that those who have been excommunicated cannot be given Communion, then Cardinal Ratzinger insisted that beyond excommunicated persons, those persons with "obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin" must be refused communion. (see http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/apr/050419a.html )
Trivializing the matter, Bretzke, who for this year is a visiting professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said, "Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense . . . Even if these people were bizarrely dressed, the archbishop was following clear pastoral and canonical principles in giving them Communion. The default is, you give Holy Communion to one who presents himself."
Archbishop Niederauer himself admitted his giving Communion to the sisters was wrong. In an apology letter to Catholics after the event he wrote in reference to the 'sisters': "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." (see: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/17/... )
Explaining, the Archbishop added: "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." (see: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/oct/07101204.html ; )
See LifeSiteNews.com's original coverage:
San Francisco Archbishop Responds After Caught on Video Giving Communion to Gay Men Dressed as Nuns
Communion for unrepentant sinners? I don’t see that as right.
It says in the Bible to leave the temple if you’ve wronged your brother, make amends, and then return.
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
I think that applies to a male, dressing as a nun in a manner that clearly indicates homosexual activity. If he repents, he should go home, change, and come back.
1 Corinthians 11
27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
Come to think of it, that's pretty much what I pray every morning, if not in those exact words.
Last Spring some studentesses of the local U came to daily PM Mass with T-shirts supporting homosexuality. Something like "Gay? Okay with me." Though I was there, They were over on the starboard side and I was on the port side, and I've sort of gotten the impression that checking out the chicks is not only creepy when you're 59, but it's also not exactly good preparation for the Sacrament, so I didn't even know they were there. (No. Really! I especially didn't notice the blonde. Wow, did I ever not notice her!)
Anyway, the priest, a buddy of mine, was visibly percolating with wrath after the service. While he communicated them, he also summoned them for a dressing down -- um, let me rephrase that -- a stern lecture the next day.
Clearly the abp. didn't have that option. I think he flinched under fire. Not the end of the world. Live and learn, sez me.
Well if the head honchos don’t know ‘unclean spirits’ when they see them, they need to be better informed. It’s not politically correct to infer one is demonically posessed, apparently. The majority of the christian religious have confused christianity with socialism. Woe unto them.
O Lord, help us!
Thanks for your post, Mad Dawg! It's nice to hear the perspective of someone who's actually been in the position of offering (or refusing) the Eucharist to the laity.
I think he flinched under fire. Not the end of the world.
This could be. The priest could also be in sympathy to some degree with the protestor or whatever you call these guys. It's hard to tell these days.
He is unqualified to teach moral theology, or to even express moral opinions.
Canon law forbids communicating individuals who flagrantly live a sinful life - these two miscreants are textbook cases.
Fervently do we pray, "lead me not into temptation," in the sense of a trial, a "kairos", a situation where what I do really matters. It's like all of us, I guess. We want to be important and to do important things, but the moral weight of importance is very heavy.
Administering the Sacrament (or what one thinks is the Sacrament) is a very intense and moving thing to do. Presiding at the Liturgy is, well, similar to saying the Rosary in the sense that there's a kind of unnoticed peeling away of defenses, a silencing of the chattering monkey-mind which is always saying "What's this? What's that? Look at that! What do you think of this? Wow, my butt itches!" It's hard to believe or accept, but one can spend a lot of energy presiding at the Liturgy.
So I can imagine that if suddenly I looked up and saw a guy heavily made up and dressed as a nun, I would really be thrown off balance for a second or two or twelve.
I'm not excusing, just describing, or trying to.
There's also a sense that while I might have been addressed as "Father", I'm not your mommy. What I mean is that in my preaching and teaching I might have addressed dispositions in which one ought not to present oneself for the Sacrament, and I might have said that if you think or do such and such a thing, you are playing with fire if you come to receive, and bad stuff may -- almost certainly will -- happen. But, once I've read them the warning label, tried to explain it, tried to convey the gravity of abusing this sip of wine and this piece of wafer, I felt it was up to them.
In the Pepsicola Church, scandal was pretty much a sine qua non of excommunication or denying the sacrament. This was true in theory, at least. In practice it was already pretty much "Y'all come on down!" and at a recent Pepsicola funeral the priest didn't even put up Baptism as a condition of reception. (Wow, am I glad I left!)
In other words, if you are a notorious evil liver - with the notoriety being an important part, then there's grounds to excommunicate you. It's not so much punitive or "medicinal" for the individual as it is a matter of confirming to the others that this or that behavior or teaching is unacceptable.
USF’s idea of moral theology would probably be unrecognizable to any normal Catholic. When the University changed presidents a few years ago, they moved very rapidly to get rid of orthodoxy (banishing Fr. Fessio and closing his Institute, for example). The place needs a good house cleaning with a high pressure hose.
Nod. I probably broke the law by speeding yesterday, so I get Mad Dawg’s point that the priest flinched “under fire.” I think a good response might have been to quietly lean over and say to the guy in the communion line, “come see me after mass” and then explain the gospel to them if they did come back.
I find myself in complete agreement with you.
Receiving communion whilst deceiving the priest is one thing and that is on the individual; openly proceeding in an unworthy manner will also carry spiritual consequences to the priest.
Mat 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
I think 'salty' has another meaning in today's church.
I took a personality type test in a small group leadership class at my church. The test put the people in boxes, one of the boxes was how much you liked conflict or avoided conflict, with a sort of range in the middle being “right” for purposes of interaction within a church community (you don’t condemn the sins of everyone, berating them constantly, and giving them your opinion incessently as a person that seeks out conflict might . . . and you don’t watch a person sin or make an important mistake or treat someone badly and not say anything as a person that avoids conflict might). Sort of a way to let people know what type of mistakes they might make if they are in a position of church leadership.
This priest might think about how he feels about conflict.
His "theology" is about as good as that "beer".
On Rush's show yesterday, he made some interesting comments re why he's able to have fun with the Harry Reid Smear Letter. To summarize, he can enjoy it because a) Rush knows he's firmly in the right, and b) Rush knows that others "got his back" and support him in doing what's right.
IMO Neiderauer knew what he was doing, and he knew the "sisters" long before he did it. He went along with it (and was willing to endure the ensuring conflict) because IMO he believes he has a) and b) covered. His apology letter was a sham, when you consider the other activities that go on at Holy Cross under his watch, as well as his views about gay clergy.
My error - I should have pinged you to my post:
Yeah, I remember that. God certainly has a lot more patience with them than I do.
I hope (a) God is merciful with him and (b) BXVI profts from his example and remembers who gave the advice to make this guy a Bp. and then an Abp.
You said it!
Problem is, the general population in SF is so darned odd, it makes the South look sane! (remember what Florence King said, "Put a fence around the South and you'd have one big madhouse!")
Add to that that the loonies in SF, unlike the loonies in the South, have absolutely nothing invested in "not making a scene" . . . quite contrariwise.
So I can understand how the clergy may either (1) be in some doubt as to whether a particularly bizarre-looking prospective communicant is persisting in grave sin, or is just your garden variety weirdo; or (2) just be so case-hardened by the infinite variety of weirdness in SF, they don't notice a couple of over-made-up guys in habits . . . .
I really think the Abp was on autopilot, with the long lines and everything. Probably already thinking about the closing prayers and coordinating the altar servers and deacons.
re the T-shirts. A judge I know had a defendant show up for a probation revocation with a "BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND" T-shirt on. He made him go home and change. I think he revoked his probation, too.
I LOVE it!
"Dear Lord, please help me get through this day without messing up big time!" could be the judge's prayer as well as the priest's.
Sacrament (or what one thinks is the Sacrament) . . .
. . . been there, done that, receiving since around 1966 or so . . . . . kinda annoying in retrospect, but I look on it as an honest mistake.
The discerning observor will immediately note that "Christian" is not one of this cleric's descriptors. Most Jesuits in the last sixty years or so have abandoned the Christian faith in favor of Gnosticism.
I think you over-estimate the clergy of san francisco. When the Mother Church (at least in the form of AmChurch) begins to crumple under the weight of powers and principalities, weird things can be expected to happen.
Could be. I don't know any.
Does anybody know any of the Dominicans out there?
"Are you a Good Jesuit . . . or the Other Kind?"
There are some good Jesuits left -- there are a couple at the parish my daughter attends at college. We had a long discussion on FR awhile back on How to Tell a Good Jesuit, and the best advice I got was to look at their shoes. Good Jesuits have worn-out, beaten up old shoes. My daughter applied this test, and it works perfectly.
I hope I'm mistaken, too. I have high expectations re the powers of discernment in an archbishop. If Neiderauer was telling the truth about his ignorance of the "sisters", then his lack of discernment IMO disqualifies him as archbishop material.
IMO, it disqualifies him from being allowed to cross the street without an adult!