Monday, January 18, 2010

Bishop Pates puts the Smackdown on Iowa Newman Center

Bishop Pates has been a gay friendly Bishop in the past, so we're suprised to see him take such a principled stand at this. It's unfortnate that there has to be such a public disagreement on the issue. Perhaps the 100 people objecting to this would be more comfortable in the Episcopalian or Lutheran Church where these sorts of things are celebrated. Perhaps a better policy would be to simply ban the Paulists from the Diocese, close the Newman Center and give it to the SSPX?

[Catholic Culture] Nearly 100 laity are boycotting Mass at an Iowa Newman center after Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines fired a transgendered housekeeper who had quietly offered counseling services and formed a transgendered support group there. Bishop Pates told Susan McIntyre, who was born as Jim Ford, that “your unauthorized representation indicating that you are employed by and operating on behalf of the Newman Center as a counselor or social worker” led to the housekeeper’s firing.

The bishop intervened after Father Joel McNeil, recently assigned to St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center at Drake University, “noticed a piece of paper on a copy machine in the parish office,” according to the Des Moines Register. “On it was a counselor's authorization of hormone therapy for a transgendered person about to undergo a sex change. On a letterhead that included the center's name and address.”

The Register added:

There's a sign out front of the church that identifies it as Catholic, McNeil noted. It's a matter of truth in advertising, he said: Would the parish stick by Catholic teachings or have a set of beliefs that went outside the Catholic tent?

"For a person who sees Christianity as fidelity to what Christ began 2,000 years ago, we can't change that teaching," he said.

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