Feb 8, 2006

More on Bishop Niederauer

Sometimes it is useful to check the San Francisco Chronicle online. Today's edition carries a front-page article on Bishop George Niederauer and his final Sunday Mass as Bishop of Salt Lake City, last Sunday.

The article is by Chronicle staff writer Wyatt Buchanan, whom the paper's website says covers "gay and lesbian news." The story links to a 19-minute podcast interview with Bishop Niederauer by Buchanan last Friday. I haven't heard it, but the topics include "gays in the priesthood," contraception and "Brokeback Mountain."

Bishop Niederauer said some good things in the news story Here is an excerpt:

"'It is the constant teaching of the church that sexual activity outside of marriage is a serious offense,' Niederauer said during a wide-ranging interview with The Chronicle on Friday. The [C]hurch, he added, also believes marriage is only for heterosexual couples, and he could not foresee either of those positions evolving anytime soon. 'The words of Christ in the 10th chapter of Mark are not going to change miraculously,' he said in reference to Jesus' description of the holy union of a man and a woman becoming 'one flesh.'"

The article, though, also has this to say:

"Niederauer comes to San Francisco at a time when many in the city's gay and lesbian Catholic population are demoralized by Vatican statements on homosexuality, including the instruction on gay priests published in November that some conservative bishops claim bars all gay men from the priesthood. Niederauer disagrees. The Vatican instruction, which is a clarification of the [C]hurch's teaching, states that men 'who are practicing homosexuals, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture'' should be barred from entering seminaries and the priesthood.

"'I have read the document several times, and I certainly don't hear the document saying, 'Please engage in a witch hunt,' Niederauer said. He said he doubts it will be necessary to change the admission policies at St. Patrick's, the Menlo Park seminary he will oversee, and believes a gay man can meet the criteria of the Vatican document and effectively minister. In San Francisco, Niederauer said, one of his top priorities will be recruiting and training new priests. He noted that Jesus was the first to mention a priest shortage when [H]e said, 'The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.' Niederauer said he will meet with staff and faculty of St. Patrick's soon after his installation as archbishop to discuss seminary policies, including the admission of gay men."

As you can see, the paper ascribes some positions to the Bishop that are not in quotation marks, so there is a chance they might not be entirely accurate.

Bishop Niederauer's installation as Archbishop of San Francisco is set for February 15. He and his predecessor, Archbishop William Levada, were seminary classmates, and they and Cardinal Mahony were in the same ordination class. The latest issue of a California independent Catholic newspaper says that last December 24, the Deseret Morning News, a Salt Lake City newspaper, quoted Bishop Niederauer as saying he and Archbishop Levada own a retirement condo in Long Beach, their hometown.

3 Comments:

Blogger Clayton said...

The paraphrases of Niederauer are very sloppy and self-serving to the author's point-of-view.

You can hear the actual podcast here.

I was impressed by his articulate, nuanced responses to some provocative questions. I get the sense that he believes what the Church teaches and takes seriously the mandate to pass on in an authentic way that teaching. When he speaks speculatively, he prefaces it as such.

Of course, I'm a bit of a softie for anyone who appreciates Flannery O'Connor as much as he does.

3:38 AM  
Blogger Clayton said...

Sorry. Left out the link. The podcast is here and the article is here.

3:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quintero -

Please break up the wall of prose with some pictures. I have always appreciated the pictures, ridiculous and sublime, that you post on your site.

4:34 AM  

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