Catholic Church | Drag Queens | Religion | San Francisco

Catholic Church In The Castro Bans Drag Queens

MostHolyRedeemerChurchIn 2006, Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church -- a charming little house of worship just two and a half blocks from The Castro Theatre, and even closer to The Sausage Factory -- laid down the law: No more Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Sisters had been running bingo games at the church, the proceeds from which went to charity, and some of the congregants seem to have hated it. At the time, the parish council president called the Sisters' very existence a "direct affront to Jesus," and likened their use of church facilities to "using a Jewish space to host an Adolf Hitler look-alike contest."

But it was just the Sisters who were banned. People in drag not impersonating nuns were, in theory, still welcome. Now they'e not

So learned the Castro Country Club, a queer recovery group, when they were planning their annual Harvest Ball fundraiser at the church -- an event always emceed by drag queens, and until now held happily in Most Holy Redeemer's social hall. But this year the San Francisco Archdiocese has a new Archbishop, and Most Holy Redeemer has a new pastor, Rev. Brian Costello. From the Bay Area Reporter:

Costello said that during a telephone conversation with a Castro Country Club representative, when the topic of drag queens came up, he told the person, "That is not going to work under the present circumstances."

"I said work with me. You can still have the dinner. You can have a regular emcee, but not drag queens on church property," Costello said.

Costello says the order comes directly from the Archbishop: he will allow no drag queens on church property, ever. If that's true, it's silly, because Archbishops like to dress like this:

Pallium archbishops


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  1. Bitches don't want to be out-dressed.

    Posted by: Luis | Aug 12, 2012 10:42:16 AM

  2. Why would any GLBT organization WANT to have their event at a Catholic church ? I don’t care if it is the Castro. My anger at this is not with the church, we all know where they stand and I choose not to support THEM in any way shape or form. What I would support is the Sisters of PI or any other drag group and buy a ticket for their event for charity any day but not in a Catholic facility. Move on people, stop going to this well, it’s dry, there is no water.

    Posted by: NE Rich | Aug 12, 2012 10:56:47 AM

  3. As we say here in the neighborhood, men in dresses have banned men in dresses.

    Probably because they're jealous their purses.

    Posted by: Elsewhere | Aug 12, 2012 11:01:37 AM

  4. Drag Queens vs. Drag Queens.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 12, 2012 11:13:05 AM

  5. Non-controversy.

    Posted by: Blake | Aug 12, 2012 11:15:15 AM

  6. There's a new archbishop in town, bitches, he's Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, and he takin' names. The catholic church liked what he did with Prop 8, so they have sent him in to clean up San Francisco. We'll be seeing a lot of him.

    Posted by: Andrew | Aug 12, 2012 11:33:11 AM

  7. I guarantee thet those robes that the arch-bishops are wearing and they're accessories cost a hell of a lot more than most drag outfits. Crap, the lace alone costs a small fortune.

    Posted by: George | Aug 12, 2012 11:34:36 AM

  8. could the drag queens dress like bishops?

    Posted by: t | Aug 12, 2012 11:35:45 AM

  9. Why can't I get over hating this church. The homophobes.

    Posted by: terryp | Aug 12, 2012 11:35:51 AM

  10. Why gay people even go near a Catholick church is beyond me.

    Posted by: castaway | Aug 12, 2012 11:55:30 AM

  11. Papist Swine!

    Posted by: dearcomrade | Aug 12, 2012 12:18:30 PM

  12. This one time, the Catholics got it right. There is absolutely no reason they should feel compelled to allow the disgusting Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on their property. They welcome gays and lesbians. They are not discriminating based on sexual orientation. They are making a judgment call based on dress, conduct, and course language. I wouldn't want that minstrel act in my home either. I don't know whether they are an affront to Catholics, but they are certainly an affront to any gay person with an ounce of self-respect.

    It is really sad that some gay people think that they need to defend clownish drag shows.

    Posted by: Paolo | Aug 12, 2012 12:26:06 PM

  13. When Salvatore Cordileone shows up in his gowns, he should be met outside the church by a crowd of LGBT people refusing to allow a drag queen such as he into the church. They should declare "no exceptions to the ban."

    Posted by: john patrick | Aug 12, 2012 12:28:23 PM

  14. "Minstrel act"? Wow, you must be a lot of fun at parties.

    Posted by: FML | Aug 12, 2012 12:33:01 PM

  15. I used to visit San Francisco often in the past. One Sunday, years ago, a friend took me to this church in the Castro. I was stunned! A totally packed church, with about 95% of the congregants gay, and the remaining churchgoers senior citizens of the neighborhood, who welcomed these gays with warm hugs. This is the church that sponsored an HIV/AIDS hospice on its property at the beginning of those dreaded times, and all this went on with the consent of the bishop. This care center continued on for years. So, before one condemns this particular parish church, know something about its wonderful caring for gays and its concern for social justice. I am not so naive as to suggest that other Catholic churches in the nation act in a similar manner. But this particular church stood as a beacon for spirituality and justice for our gay community at a time when the Castro was clearly welcoming this.

    Posted by: Seamus | Aug 12, 2012 12:33:26 PM

  16. Drag queens aren't appropriate in church.

    Posted by: gay liberal christian | Aug 12, 2012 12:47:26 PM

  17. @PAOLO Obviously you know nothing about The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

    They actually are performance-artists who happen to dress in quasi-nun drag.

    They do not disrespect the women-religious of the RCC. They satirize the chauvinism and misogyny of the Church. Real Nuns have no problem with the SOPD. The SOPD do lots of charitable work in SF and are fantastic people!

    The new archbishop who is a corporate man, a real Vatican up-and-comer. He was a big influence getting Prop 8 passed in CA and was responsible for the Church's outreach to Mormons and evangelicals to unite to defeat marriage equality. He'll go far in the increasingly reactionary Catholic church.

    One might expect the "comparative" comments here about who are the bigger drag-queens: the SPOD or the bishops.

    Comparing the bishops to drag-queens gives drag-queenery a bad name. The bishops are hypocrites; hateful, spiteful, mean-spirited, perverted men.

    When the archbishop of SF owns up to the decades-long (hell, centuries-long) sexual abuse of adolescents and children, he can then get all pissy about the SOPD. Until then, one must respond to Ms. Archbishop like this: Girl, STFU!

    Posted by: jamal49 | Aug 12, 2012 1:07:00 PM

  18. Hey, Jesus, put on some pants! And take off those sandals; wear some shoes and socks! And while you're at it, get a man's haircut. Now don't come back to this church until you do!

    Posted by: voet | Aug 12, 2012 1:07:26 PM

  19. They're all wearing my Mardi Gras costume...same color and everything. I paid good money to rent that thing and now everybody has one. I am pissed!!!

    Posted by: Howard | Aug 12, 2012 1:13:03 PM

  20. @Seamus: I think you got the history of the Coming Home Hospice wrong. You should check on it. It is run by a local hospital and it was funded by individuals, not MHR.

    As for gay men thronging MHR on Sundays, well, it's conveniently in their neighborhood. Many of them were former members of Dignity, a gay Catholic group that tried to change the church's attitudes but got thrown out.

    They have helped MHR pay for its mortgage but now that that is done, you'll notice that they're not acknowledged directly from the pulpit. You can go to Easter mass, as I did, and hear no mention of the thousands who died of AIDS although you'll hear about people dying of cancer and other diseases. Gay issues are not mentioned or supported from hierarchy there.

    You have got to realize that the officials at MHR toe the party line. And it is a line that is hostile to gays.

    It's about time the parishioners spoke up by withholding their donations until the church changes. Otherwise, they are deluding themselves and can bring their good work to any number of other organizations.

    Posted by: Guy | Aug 12, 2012 1:19:19 PM

  21. The scarves hanging down the back from the chapeaux are a nice effect, but the slips are too long and hide the pumps.

    Posted by: trees | Aug 12, 2012 1:25:01 PM

  22. How can you tell the difference between the Queens and the Priest, they all look pretty all dressed up. Discrimination is not what Jesus would do.

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 12, 2012 1:35:21 PM

  23. As Tallulah Bankhead said to the thurifer:

    "Love the frock, vicar, but your purse is on fire."

    Posted by: BABH | Aug 12, 2012 1:37:53 PM

  24. The SoPI are less drag queen and more terrifying bearded clown. It's like my sphenisciphobia and my coulrophobia had Sunday-kneeling ass-babies.

    Posted by: Otkon | Aug 12, 2012 1:40:37 PM

  25. Then who will lead the Mass? I think of the Fathers, in dresses, as drag queens.

    Posted by: Jacques Rosas | Aug 12, 2012 2:15:23 PM

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