The Archdiocese of San Francisco has told the city’s notoriously ‘gay-friendly’ Most Holy Redeemer Parish it cannot host events on church grounds that include drag queens.
The new policy means that a homosexual drug and alcohol recovery group called the Castro Country Club must find a new venue for an Oct. 20 fundraiser originally planned for the parish’s social hall. The organization had held previous fundraisers at the parish for three years.
“The Castro Country Club had planned to hold our third annual Harvest Feast on October 20, 2012, at Most Holy Redeemer Church, where we have held this and other events in the past,” the group’s board of directors said in a statement published in the homosexual-oriented newspaper Bay Area Reporter.
“…It is our organization’s policy to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Drag queens are no exception. We are currently seeking an alternative venue for the Harvest Feast, which provides an important source of revenue for our annual budget.”
Father Brian Costello, who took over as pastor at Most Holy Redeemer on July 1, told the Castro Country Club during the first week of August that it could not hold the dinner on parish grounds if drag queens were to be included as part of the event.
“I am the new pastor,” Father Costello was quoted as saying in the Bay Area Reporter. “There is a new archbishop. The archdiocese told me straight out, ‘No drag queens.'”
“I am big on compromising,” Father Costello told the newspaper. “[Castro Country Club] would not work with me. It was all or nothing. And they got nothing.”
The parish has a long history of problems associated with drag queens. In October 2006, the archdiocese banned the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” who describe themselves as “the leading-edge order of queer nuns,” from holding monthly bingo games in MHR’s parish hall.
“The Archdiocese of San Francisco has directed the parish to end the arrangement immediately,” then-archdiocesan spokesman Maurice Healy said at the time. “For years the group has directed contempt and ridicule at Catholic faith and practices. The particular targets of the group’s derision are women in religious communities, for whom Catholics, and many non-Catholics, have a special reverence and respect.”
Drag shows are nothing new at Most Holy Redeemer. In 2011 the parish hosted the Switch Hitters Ball, and in 2007, the parish hosted the Desperate Divas drag contest, just one week before the unfortunate visit of Archbishop George Niederauer, who gave communion to two members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and for which the archbishop later apologized.
The ban at Most Holy Redeemer is the latest action by the San Francisco archdiocese directed at drag queens. Archdiocesan officials threatened to cancel a June 15 fundraiser for a cancer charity at St. Mary’s Cathedral if the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were allowed to participate. Event sponsors relented and told the “queer nuns” not to show up — but said they would not schedule future events at Catholic venues.