Fr. Brian Costello, the pastor of the notoriously pro-homosexual Most Holy Redeemer parish wrote in the parish bulletin this week (March 3, 2013) that he removed a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI for fear of offending gays.
Here’s what he wrote:
“Two weeks ago, after Pope Benedict XVI had announced to the world that he would be resigning the office of Peter as of February 28th, I put the Pope’s picture, that usually hangs in the rectory, in the church. A handful of people told me that they would rather it not be there. They explained that the feeling was while he was Pope, as well as his time as a Cardinal, Pope Benedict had made hurtful and hateful statements regarding the LGBT Community and thus, his picture should not be placed on the altar of MHR. I was also warned, many parishioners would walk out of Sunday Mass if the picture was not removed. I spoke with a close priest friend of mine, and even though both of us were saddened by this, the wisest course, I felt, was to remove the Pope’s picture.”
I continued to think and pray about this and started to think about the bigger picture: How do we deal with the Pope, the Archbishop, Priests, Family and Friends that don’t understand or accept us as we are? Do we banish them from our lives, or do we pray as Jesus did while dying on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” I think in learning to forgive, and embrace the Pope and the Church, even when they don’t accept us, we learn to do the same for our own family and friends, and in the end, grow to be more accepting of our own failures and limitations. I find that forgiving people’s shortcomings, including the Pope’s, makes it easier for me to forgive my own shortcomings.
During this Lenten Season we need to remind ourselves of the Lord’s Prayer, especially the part that reads “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” I pray for Pope Benedict XVI, who is now retired, as well as for the Cardinals of our Church who will be gathering in Rome to choose his successor. May the Holy Spirit guide them and continue to bless and guide the good and holy people of Most Holy Redeemer.
Happy Lent, huh? But don’t worry about changing yourself. We’ll just pretend to change Church teaching so as to make you feel better about your sins.
Gibbons Coney wrote of this incident, saying:
Because the real lived religion at MHR is the celebration of homosexuality, things or persons that support this celebration will be experienced as orthodox; conversely, things or persons that assert Catholic teaching when it conflicts with the celebration of homosexuality will be experienced as blasphemous. Observe MHR’s variety of ecumenism. Like all religions, the religion at MHR is quite willing to practice ecumenism when there is nothing vital to its identity at stake. As long as that’s the case, MHR is perfectly happy to accommodate other denominations.