Father Chris Ponnet at Mass in St. Camillus Chapel (TIDINGS photo)
Clayton Emmer's post on Father Ponnet's strange behavior at an Archdiocesan conference on human sexuality has elicited an illuminating response from someone who knew the HIV ministry, anti-death penalty, activist priest when he was stationed at Our Lady of the Assumption in Claremont.
From the comment box at THE WEIGHT OF GLORY ...
When my husband and I were living in Southern California, attending Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Claremont, Fr. Chris was the associate pastor. He was one guy who gave us great impetus to jump ship and join the nearest Protestant church. We stuck it out in the end thanks to the timely homily of a different priest in that parish, and eventually Fr. Chris was sent off to minister to AIDS patients as a hospital chaplain. I see that he hasn't changed much in all these years.See related post: Sex in the City (of the Angels?)
The first time I had my parents visit us in So-Cal, Fr. Chris celebrated Easter Mass and decided that instead of saying the responses, the priest and people would "clap" the responses. As in: One clap = The Lord be With You. Two claps = And also with you. It was the most unbearably corny, embarrassing, idiotic thing I've ever been forced to endure in a Mass - and I've seen plenty of foolish stuff in years of living all over the USA. On another occasion, Fr. Chris was giving a homily about the Jews grumbling in the desert. He kept shrieking the word "grumbling!" - when suddenly, he took off down the main aisle of the church, ran up the stairs into the choir loft and finished his shrieking homily standing at the railing above everyone. He then bolted back downstairs to the sanctuary and asked, "Did I make you uncomfortable just now?" I remember a lady next to me nudging me with her elbow, rolling her eyes and muttering, "Theatrics." Fr. Chris might argue that I still remember his homily to this day...but the fact is that I have no memory of what he was "preaching." I only remember the lunacy of him running all over the church and shrieking "grumbling!"
My husband and I grew so weary, also, that in every homily Fr. Chris always had to mention sexual orientation - and how God did not withhold his grace based upon one's sexual preference. We were amazed, as a young couple beginning to raise a family, that we always heard about the needs of those with SSA - but never a word about living family life as a man and woman raising children in today's world.