The other day I noticed that Peter LaBarbera had a fit when some pictures of the Sisters show up on his doorstep (one wonders when he has time to read emails when he has so many videos and pictures from Folsom Street to watch). The pictures show some of the Sisters receiving communion here in San Francisco. This news made the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle today, but I’m sure what it says is something that Peter LaBarbera wouldn’t dare print at his own hatesite. Now why this crappy story would make the front page is beyond me, especially with all the other problems going on in the world…
Anyway, the Archbishop gave them communion. The archbishop here, George Niederauer, is fairly friendly to the gay and lesbian community here in San Francisco. However, I have to rethink my thoughts on him, since he put out a letter.
"At Communion time, toward the end of the line, two strangely dressed persons came to receive Communion," Niederauer wrote. "As I recall, one of them wore a large flowered hat or garland."
What? He didn’t recognize them and that they were just ‘strangely dressed’? He gave them communion. Now he is upset and it sounds like he thinks they tricked him. Does he check references of those he gives communion to? What about the 4th time divorcees? Do they get communion from him? Or the homeless? Or gays and lesbians not dressed up? How does he ever decide???
Here is what Prof. Rev. Jim Bretzke has to say about the matter (he is the professor of moral theology and U. of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic University):
"The general sacramental principle is that you don’t deny the sacrament to someone who requests it," said the Rev. Jim Bretzke, professor of moral theology at University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university. "The second principle is that you cannot give communion to someone who has been excommunicated."
He said such people are designated "manifest public sinners" in canon law.
"This is someone who violates in a serious way one of the Ten Commandments or one of the important laws of the Church," he said. "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. Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense."
Bretzke added, "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."
So people like LaBarbera can complain all they want, and he can start letter-writing campaigns to make it look like he is actually doing something, but in the end it doesn’t matter. Let me repeat the words of Prof. Bretzke: "the sisters do not meet the criteria the church has for denying Communion. Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense."
Hmm. I’ve debated with LaBarbera in the past about the Sisters and the fact that they do great things in the community AND they give their money they make to charity. I asked Peter LaBarbera how much money he gave to charity and he (like Stacy Harp who is SO proud to have given her money to charity) would not say.
The interesting thing about this whole blown-up story is the email that one of the Sisters sent to the church:
Sister Delta Goodhand, one of the two who received communion from Niederauer, wrote: "Just a quick note to recognize the wonderful mass yesterday at your Church. Your entire congregation was so welcoming and it was great to be able to participate. You are a wonderfully inclusive Church."
I wonder what this good sister now things about the inclusive church now?