The first readings at Catholic Masses for the current week are from the book of Maccabees. The readings relate the attempt made at that time to secularize Jewish culture, and the response of heroic Israelites. On Monday Pope Francis preached on the readings, “We would do well to think about what happened in the Book of Maccabees, about what happened step by step, before we decide to follow an ‘adolescent progressivism’ and go along with what everyone is doing.”

One hopes the Holy Father’s order, the Society of Jesus, is listening. In two previous articles (July 1, 2013, “Gay pride Sunday – parishioner in tears,” and January 7, 2010, ”Church or Museum? USF’s St. Ignatius Church has replaced confessionals to make room for art gallery”) CalCatholic has reported on the secularization at St. Ignatius, the church of the University of San Francisco. The 2013 article concluded:  “The St. Ignatius Jesuits have actually replaced Catholicism with something else. In 2010, CalCatholic reported that the Jesuits had replaced the confessionals at St. Ignatius with an art gallery.”

The redecorating continues at San Francisco’s flagship Jesuit parish.  On August 4, the parish bulletin contained an entry which sounded as if it was from the satirical website Eye of the Tiber: “Pardon Our Dust! In the next few weeks, the last three pews in the southeast corner of the church (by the statue of St. Ignatius) will be removed and put in storage. The purpose is to create space at the back of the church for social gatherings. We look forward to inaugurating the space at the end of summer!”

The removal of the pews was delayed beyond “the next few weeks” and finally occurred this month.

The bulletin announcement gives the location of the removed pews as being “by the statue of St. Ignatius” but it could as accurately have given the location as “by the entrance to the art gallery.”