The long history of dissent at Most Holy Redeemer (MHR) Catholic Parish in the Castro District of San Francisco has been widely documented and periodically reported upon by both the secular and the Catholic media.
In addition to frequently inviting unorthodox speakers to the Parish, earlier this year – Celtic priest Vincent Pizzuto gave a talk at Most Holy Redeemer, incidentally – he once said that: “…homosexuals are ethically bound not to act contrary to their nature as homosexuals. Or, to state this more positively, the ethics of homosexuality begins with an honest recognition, admission and integration of one’s God-given homosexual orientation.”
Several prominent members of the parish have openly voiced their opposition to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Kevin Fisher-Paulson: is a current member of the Parish Pastoral Council; according to a story posted on the New Ways Ministry web-site “Bondings 2.0,” Paulson “married” his male partner in 2008 and has two adopted sons. Of “gay marriage” and Most Holy Redeemer, he said: “Professor John Boswell argued that 1,000 years ago, the unchanging Catholic Church recognized same-sex marriage, and I suspect some day it will again. In the meantime, my husband and I attend Most Holy Redeemer, that gay-friendly church in the Castro, so the rest of the Church can see how many people are affected by our marriage.” John Boswell was a radical gay apologist and historian; all erroneous claims that he made for the existence of early-Medieval same-sex “blessing” ceremonies have been proven incorrect by every credible Catholic theologian including Courage-founder Fr. John Harvey.
On June 26, 2015, the day of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision in the Supreme Court, which legalized “gay marriage” in all 50 States, Paulson posted to his Twitter account this message:
“Married at last! Married at last! Thank God almighty I’m married at last.”
In a book he wrote entitled “A Song for Lost Angels: How Daddy and Papa Fought to Save Their Family,” wherein he explores the question: “What makes a family?” Paulson also said this about first attending Most Holy Redeemer: “…we walked into Most Holy Redeemer Church, in the Castro District. It had a big banner over the entrance that read ‘God’s INCLUSIVE Love,’ and pictures of the parish serving meals to the homeless, and working with persons with AIDS, and even marching in the Gay Pride Parade…We got knee-deep in the parish, baking pies for the Wednesday night supper for the homeless and singing with the choir on Sundays. The great thing about Most Holy Redeemer was that no one put much emphasis on faith.” This goes part and parcel with the attitude of former Most Holy Redeemer Pastor Fr. Jack McClure who said in a 2015 interview that: “We didn’t come here to change anybody.”
In addition to his support for same-sex marriage, Paulson also has views on women’s ordination which directly go against Church teachings; in a November 12, 2015 Twitter post, Paulson expressed his support for an excommunicated religious sister who was “ordained” a priest earlier that same year with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Not surprising, in 2015, former-Pastor Fr. Jack McClure attended a women’s ordination conference. McClure has sent stepped down, but his fellow Precious Blood Father – Fr. Matthew Link, who arrived at MHR with Fr. McClure, is now the Pastor.
James Dewan: is a Deacon candidate at Most Holy Redeemer; he created a gofundme.com page on March 10, 2016 in order to help defray the costs of the 5 year training program. Like, Kevin Fisher-Paulson, DeWan has not been shy about publicly supporting same-sex marriage: on June 26, 2015 – the day same-sex marriage was legalized throughout the US, Dewan posted to his Facebook account a #LoveWins photo of the first gay couple to be married in Dallas Texas; he also posted the following message: “I personally do not understand why some people object so vehemently to same sex marriage, aka marriage. It doesn’t affect them one iota. Quite frankly we don’t approval. God is love, and that love is expressed in so many different ways.”
On June 28, 2015 – the day of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, DeWan posted a picture showing a statue of the Virgin Mary bedecked with the colorful beads given away every year at the Parade by the proudly marching MHR parishioners.
Besides other Facebook posts which celebrate same-sex marriage, on April 30, 2015 – DeWan posted a picture of a shirtless man, who bears a passing resemblance to Jesus, standing in front of a picture of Christ, with the caption: “Jesus takes a selfie; Say Crucifixion.” When one of Dewan’s friends commented on the post with this line: “Jus sayin’, if he really looked like that I would have been fighting Mary Magdalen off with a stick!” DeWan responded: “I’d be fighting you both for him…”
“In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” – Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders
Philip Carrizosa: is a long-time parishioner at Most Holy Redeemer. In 2008, Carrizosa married his male partner. According to his Google profile, Carrizosa is an “Acolyte and lector” at Most Holy Redeemer; he also wrote, under the headline – Bragging Rights: “ I have the bestest husband!”
“The lay Christian faithful called to give assistance at liturgical celebrations should be well instructed and must be those whose Christian life, morals and fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium recommend them…No one should be selected whose designation could cause consternation for the faithful.” – Redemptionis Sacramentum
Author’s note: as a former gay man myself, someone who delved deeper into the extremes of gay sex than these men probably could ever imagine, I am not criticizing or judging them in any way. While I think they should all be welcomed by the Catholic Church with open arms – at the same time, I think they have been grossly ill-served by those at Most Holy Redeemer and by the Catholic leadership at the chancery of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
While we, including the Church, often need to meet people where they are – is it helpful to permanently leave them there? And, is it beneficial to those who are genuinely struggling with same-sex attraction, to see persons who have publicly flounced the Church’s most vital teachings on this subject, being given positions of authority and honor? No. Because it further deludes and facilitates those who are confused; and those who are questioning – get all the wrong answers.