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Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in SF Hit by Vandals


Yesterday it was reported that Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco had been targeted by vandals presumably for its support of Proposition 8. The church was spray painted with "Ratzinger" (referring to the Pope) and Niederauer (referring to the San Francisco archbishop) along with swastikas and other graffiti.

NiederaurerSaid Pastor Steve Meriweather to KCBS: "I think it's unfortunate that they selected our community to attack, because it's the wrong one."

ABC7 wrote: "It appears the vandals are upset about the Catholic church's support of Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in California. But, the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on Diamond Street is gay-friendly. Many parishioners voted against Prop 8 and they are upset their church was targeted. 'We're very disturbed by the hierarchy's support of the Yes on Eight Campaign. We've been in conversation with the bishop, which is the way I think we need to handle it. I think Catholic teaching shows us we're all a community and we all need to talk to one another about it even if we have disagreements,' said Rob Hopckey."

Niederauer's actions during the Prop 8 campaign attracted plenty of attention. The archbishop sent out an email flyer before the election to his Holy Redeemer parishioners urging them to make a "Yes" vote on Proposition 8, as was reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 18.

Said Matt Dorsey, a member of the Holy Redeemer Parish Council, to the Chronicle at the time: "It is really out of right field. I would expect this from Karl Rove, but not from the spiritual leader of (several hundred thousand) Catholics."

Niederauer also defended his action on Prop 8 at the beginning of December in a letter posted to his website. Niederauer urged people to accept the procreation argument for the family and the "marriage" label, and wants gays to accept "a contract for the benefit of a relationship between adults" but not call it marriage. He forgives "single parents, grandparents, foster parents and others" who "fail to realize" the ideal procreative one man-one woman model but doesn't deny them his permission to marry, because they are heterosexual.
Basically, Niederauer wants gays and lesbians (many of whom do procreate through surrogates, etc, I might add) to accept their status as second-class citizens and move on.

The vandalism is being investigated.

SF Archbishop Niederauer Wants Gays to Accept Second-Class Status [tr]
S.F. Catholic church walks fine line on Prop. 8 [sf chronicle]

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  1. "Most Holy Redeemer is probably the most gay friendly church in the United States." For starters, for that to be true it would have to not be a roman catholic church. Eric, if you were to alter the anti-gay texts, press releases, bishop's letter, and pope's statements for 2008 to be anti-black instead, how many weeks or months or years would you sit in that pew, thinking that it was ok to continue attending "because you didn't believe that about black people and in fact, you were attending the most black-friendly church in the U.S.?" I'd like to know.

    Posted by: KaraokeJoe | Jan 5, 2009 10:32:09 PM

  2. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008

    AUSCHWITZ -- CHRISTMAS *** 2008 -- Part I -- A flashback far more severe than in --- BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

    Dear Fr. Geoff Farrow,

    I have been so saddened by Pope Benedict XVI's cruel words to LGBTQ people around the world, to their parents, families and friends, most ESPECIALLY TO CHILDREN. After reading the accounts of this human travesty, I did not know where to find comfort or hope. And then I thought about your blog. And just like receiving a wonderful Christmas present, sure enough I found the hope and comfort I needed to hear.

    I am a priest and a clinical psychologist (MS). And for one of my research projects I chose to do a qualitative research project of the recorded verbal accounts of survivors of the Holocaust, 50 years after the event. It was a difficult research project, because I could not make sense of one of the accounts of the survivors.

    For example, one survivor was describing what it was like riding the train to AUSCHWITZ, but he was describing how he was trying to make conversation with a girl on the train. I listened and wrote out this one account almost 30 times but I just was not getting it. I could not understand how this man could be talking about wanting to make conversation with this girl on the same train to AUSCHWITZ!?!

    Because I had taught high school religion classes for nearly 20 years, it hit me hard, like a flash of lightning. Instantly, all the pieces came together, so fast. Though this survivor was in his late 60’s when he gave his account of his story on audiotape, he was remembering the events that took place, but naturally they were recounted through the mind of a teenager, the age he was on the train to AUSCHWITZ. That is why the dialogue wasn’t making any sense. I was thinking of him as an old man because the voice on the audiotape was the voice of a 68-year-old. As shocking as a bomb going off, all the different aspects of the psychological developmental stages of a teenager kicked in. I realized only too fully that he was just a young normal teenager on that train!!! And so was the girl he was trying to make conversation, and their moms and dads were there with them!!! There was no way to pretend I did not realize what I discovered. It kept hitting me: this is not some script from a movie or TV miniseries on the Holocaust. No; as much as I wished it were. The reality of this horror hit me all at once, on so many different levels of consciousness: what an unbelievable horror it was!!! How could we treat human beings like this! I remember when the realization of the magnitude of this horror first hit me, like an instant reflex. I threw down the transcript I was holding as if it were a blazing hot poker. It kept hitting me over and over again that this is not a movie script or some kind of play – this really happened! It really happened! Oh, my God, how could this have happened!?!!!

    My supervisor told me at the time that I was traumatized by the oral content. Qualitative research is an attempt to understand the complexity of emotions, the kinds of emotions, and the degree of intensity involved. Our emotions are what allow us to connect with other human beings. We identify with the non-verbal quality of emotions more immediately and strongly than with the words used to express them. The non-verbal qualities include tone of voice, eye contact, facial expression, body posture, and gestures, all of which express emotions. Emotions are why we can connect with people through time, across cultures, and individually. It is the expression of human emotions in the arts that makes some works of art timeless, because they continually speak to all people through the ages.

    And when I heard what Pope Benedict XVI said about homosexuals and transgendered human beings at Christmas 2008, I felt that same trauma all over again. Because in some way, somehow, he was conveying in a non-verbal manner the horror of the Holocaust, in what appears to be a traumatized, trance-like, accepted social norm from that period of time dictating that some people just don’t count, aren’t important, and can be easily disposed of. And if you rock the boat, you could be next to be disposed of.

    I truly have to believe that a person in his position would not be doing this consciously or intentionally. The horror of the Holocaust is like an atomic bomb with fallout so extensive that it spreads over a radius of more than 150 miles. The horror of the Holocaust began in 1933 and ended in 1945. The psychological fallout would have been far more extensive and more deadly, especially when it is not identified as such.

    It hit me the way it did when I realized that the research I was doing about a Holocaust survivor, a man 68 years old telling his story, who was remembering what it was like to be on the train to AUSCHWITZ, from the perspective of a young teenage boy who just wanted to talk to a girl. It seemed like the same kind of horror, a tacit assumption that some people don't count and can be disposed of without remorse. Could it be that Benedict XVI is unconsciously repeating Hitler's crime against humanity by taking on a long-accepted social attitude from that period of time?

    The question I asked myself was: what would it have been like for someone growing up gay during the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933 -1945?

    What would be the severity of the psychological effects on a boy who grew up to be gay in Germany during the time of Hitler’s NAZI PERSECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS 1933 -1945? During the Nazi regime, homosexuals were publicly defamed and falsely accused for the major social problems of that time, which was done to incite massive public hatred and hostility directed against homosexuals. Homosexuals were used for medical experiments, physically mutilated, brutally tortured and exterminated.

    Would this child, as an adult, in a severe dissociated state of mind from his own homosexual feelings (Harry Stack Sullivan MD, Dissociative Processes, Clinical Studies on Psychiatry (1956)), unconsciously perpetuate the terrifying horror of the insensitivity he had experienced growing up? If he found himself in a position of authority would he recreate the same social and political environment of violence and terror for homosexuals that he experienced, as a child who grew up to be gay, during the NAZI PERSECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS?

    I think in truth on a much deeper level I was frightened, really frightened, to hear Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas remarks against homosexuals and transgendered human beings and even more frightened by the silence from the larger global community of human beings. What is so frightening is, even if there is agreement that one person does not matter or is not important, in truth then no one matters. Therefore, when I thought about your blog and what you did on October 5, 2008, I felt more reassured, I felt hope, and I felt comforted. NOW, isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas?

    God Bless you,

    Fr. Marty Kurylowicz

    100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
    Washington, DC 20024-2126
    Main telephone: (202) 488-0400
    TTY: (202) 488-0406

    Why Bother About Homosexuals?
    Homophobia and Sexual Politics in Nazi Germany (2002)
    by Geoffrey J. Giles explanation of Hitler’s immediate action taken against gays, when he came to power, accounts of the inhuman treatment of gays.

    Martin S. Kurylowicz, M.Div., M.S.
    4005 Cornerstone, Dr.
    Canton, Michigan 48188
    Phone: 248-921-3249

    Posted by: Martin Kurylowicz | Jan 6, 2009 11:14:13 PM

  3. re: MammaB

    You miss the point entirely.

    The "Church" has indeed OPENED ITSELF up to all responses from all people. Whether those responses are, as you say, "legitimate" or acceptable to us is irrelevant. Whether the "church" is deserving of those responses is equally irrelevant.

    "Murder is off the table, from ALL people. Arson is off the table, from ALL people."

    What the hell are you talking about? Where did that come from? Setting fires and killing people bad, got it. Sadly, Gays are brutally murdered regularly in this country, Gay bars get firebombed. I guess some people didn't get your memo.

    Posted by: Ben | Jan 7, 2009 7:48:16 PM

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