View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Going through the "Closet"

I read all sorts of eclectic materials. Magazines – Catholic and Religious, Peace and Justice, Music (Folk, Rock, Bluegrass, Punk and more), Haiku, Art, Mysteries, Political, Horror and Science Fiction, News, Sports, Humor, etc. - newspapers, newsletters and just about anything else I stumble across.

If it’s there, and it’s not porn, I’ll skim through it.

While exiting the library the other day I snagged free copies of a local weekly newspaper for which I used to write (City), and the local newspaper of the homosexual community, The Empty Closet.

After going through that Closet – and the usual articles promoting homosexual marriage, HIV issues, adoption, outreach to young people, and encomiums on the joys of masturbation - here’s a few tidbits I dug out. None of them are surprising, or even new, but they caught my eye.

New York’s pro-abortion Catholic Senator Kirstin Gillibrand was the keynote speaker at Empire State Pride Agenda’s Spring Dinner. She continues to show that she supports things counter to Church teachings, even as she identifies herself as Catholic.

Among the businesses “who support our mission and vision,” the Gay Alliance listed St. John Fisher College – a formerly Catholic institution and my alma mater – as a “Silver” honoree. The homosexual friendly Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church and the Third Presbyterian Church only rated Bronzes, so Fisher must have been doing something extra special. (Where’s that alumni donation envelope?)

Reverend Denise Donato of the schismatic Spiritus Christi Church had an ad declaring “You deserve to have your Marriage Blessed & Celebrated” and notes she has “14 years experience preparing and celebrating gay and straight marriage.”

14 years? Hmm. Wasn’t that before the Corpus Christi schismatics officially broke with the Church?

Spiritus Christi also has an ad. It promotes itself as “A Catholic (?) Community Where All Are Welcome.” I was reminded of a conversation with a man whose wife and children were Jewish, but who received Communion at the pre-official break Corpus even though they were Jewish because, he explained, the Host was just a symbol.

Thomas Warfield, noted liturgical dancer, was scheduled to take part in a benefit concert called “Changing the World Through Music” to raise money for PeaceArt International. The concert was to include a “special guest performance” by the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus.

I don’t know if this concert came off: I was singing at the 9th Annual Westside Benefit Concert with members of various church choirs. We were raising money to benefit Cameron Community Ministries, which provides a variety of ministries in one of Rochester’s poorest, most crime-ridden sections.

Continuing through the Closet, I spotted the habit of “Reverend Mother.” Reverend Mother is Phyllis Contestable, a former Sister of Mercy who played Reverend Mother in Nunsense, and developed around that role a comedy routine for roasts and appearances at dinners and celebrations for a number of groups, including Catholic ones. Her mention here came for taking part in the “True Colors” Banquet of the Pride at Work AFL-CIO to honor Jim Bertolone for “his stalwart support of Pride at Work and ongoing advocacy for equal civil rights for GLBT workers.”

Speaking of women religious, I also spotted the name of Sister Kay Heverin, SSJ, of St. Mary’s Church in Rochester. Sister Kay was listed back on May 10 as being the “lay presider/preacher” at the Dignity-Integrity Roman Catholic Sunday Celebration In the Absence of a Priest.

A Catholic woman religious serving as Presider and Preacher at a church service when there are many valid Catholic services available?

And to do so for Dignity, a group that promotes things counter to the Church’s teachings about homosexuality and which is not an accepted Catholic group? I seem to recall a 1986 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, which declares:

All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges.

Maybe she did not consider her actions a form of “support, or even the semblance of such support.”

I’m sure there was more to find in this particular Closet, but I’ve spent enough time on it already, and I need a newspaper to stick under the cat’s litter box.


Anonymous Rob said...

Please scan and post a copy of the article. I wish to do a little research into this and forward the article to the diocese.


12:12 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I wasn't kidding about the litter box!

You can find a free copy of the "Empty Closet" at a number of libraries. It's probably available in other places as well.

4:56 PM  

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