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Montrose Voice, No. 330, February 20, 1987
File 006
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Montrose Voice, No. 330, February 20, 1987 - File 006. 1987-02-20. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 29, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2919/show/2895.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1987-02-20). Montrose Voice, No. 330, February 20, 1987 - File 006. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2919/show/2895

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Montrose Voice, No. 330, February 20, 1987 - File 006, 1987-02-20, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 29, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2919/show/2895.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Montrose Voice, No. 330, February 20, 1987
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
  • Wyche, Linda
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date February 20, 1987
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 006
Transcript FEBRUARY 20, 1987/MONTROSE VOICE 5 Catholic Church's Fitful Response to AIDS Opinion by Bill Kenkelen Pacific News Service As AIDS spreads in the Catholic priesthood, it will become increasingly difficult for the Church to treat AIDS as a disease that afflicts "them" because the epidemic has now hit home. Sadly, the impetus is needed. Individually, many Catholic priests, nuns and lay people have responded heroically to what may become the century's worst epidemic. But as an institution, the Church is still making only fitful responses to AIDS. But the fact that at least a dozen, and perhaps many more, priests have AIDS or have already died of AIDS underscores the human frailty within the Church itself Its failures are particularly glaring because the Church prides itself on tradition. For centuries, the Church led society in responding to disease. Some religious orders were created to fight particular diseases, and the Church built the first hospitals to treat the great mass of people who did not belong to the aristocracy. Their legacy is the Church's current worldwide system of Catholic hospitals. But AIDS has stifled what might have been expected of the Catholic Church, and many other churches as well, because of the perceived moral issue of its transmission through homosexual behavior. Four years ago, for example, a priest in San Francisco refused to give the sacraments to a dying AIDS patient because he was a homosexual. And Catholic bishops declined to heed the pleas of gay leaders to counter the assertions of right-wing fundamentalist preachers that AIDS is "God's wrath." The changes that have occurred since then are often due to close personal contact with AIDS patients. San Francisco archbishop John Quinn became the U.S. Church's most prominent defender of AIDS patients after making regular visits to an AIDS hospital ward. One widespread, out little noted, change has been the greater availability of priests who can, and will, minister to dying AIDS patients. This is probably the Church's most important role: Helping a person find goodness and meaning in life as he or she struggles to find peace at death. In the earlier years of the epidemic, many priests who have since learned to minister to dying AIDS patients didn't know any openly gay men. For them, the issue of sexual orientation, and hence sexual morality, was more important than people dying of AIDS. Today, that issue is less relevant as more priests experience the courage and love of 80 many dying AIDS patients. The fullest response to AIDS from the institutional Church has occurred in Sacramento, Calif. The bishop there, Francis Quinn, has ordered all the diocese's agencies to provide services to AIDS patients. The diocese held a Church convocation on AIDS—the first in the nation—last October, led by Quinn and Sacramento Mayor Ann Rudin. At a healing service during the convocation, Quinn anointed an AIDS patient. He then asked the AIDS patient to anoint him. And Quinn regularly visits the California Prison System's medical facility in nearby Vacaville where California's prisoners with AIDS are housed. He celebrates mass there and spends afternoons with the AIDS patients and their families. In a statement last May, Quinn issued what may be the strongest statement by any Catholic leader on the epidemic. "Jesus' harshest words," he said, "were reserved for self-righteous people who condemned and rejected others .. - Jesus was not controlled by a niggling inner guilt that makes some of us come down judgmentally on 'sinners' to convince ourselves that we are on God's side." Other dioceses on the forefront of Church response to AIDS include Milwaukee and New Orleans. Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland is chairman ofthe AIDS Resource Council of Wisconsin. New Orleans Catholic Charities is coordinating that city's social service response to the epidemic. In contrast, the Philadelphia Arehdi ocese responded to a request late last year that the archdiocese become involved in AIDS ministry in a letter written by Cardinal John Krai's secretary. Father Joseph McFadden. "Please be advised that while the Church opposes sin and sinful activity," McFadden wrote, "it nevertheless extends its love and help to the sinner, urging conversion to a life of virtue." For Mark Pratner, a Philadephia gay Catholic, the letter was actually "a breakthrough. It's the first time we've gotten any response from them at all. We've had people die who wanted a priest but couldn't get one because we aren't allowed to have priests from the archdiocese " The record of other large dioceses is mixed. Last year, the archbishops of three of the largest Catholic dioceses— Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago— issued detailed statements condemning prejudice against AIDS patients and insisting on, in the words of Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law, "a spirit of loving care and non-iudgmental charitv." Yet in each statement, Church leaders felt compelled to preach about chastity and marital fidelity. For critics like Larry Kessler of the Massachusetts AIDS Action Committee, such statements only underscore the distance between heterosexual people and gay people—a distance that must be bridged before there can be an effective AIDS ministry. Late last year, the Vatican issued a strongly worded letter to all bishops warning against support for homosexual groups, and describing gay people as instrinsically disordered. Some observers believe the Vatican felt com pelled to issue such a statement precisely because of the limited rapprochement that was occurring between gay people and many Catholics sparked by the AIDS crisis. Since the end ofthe year, four dioceses have responded to the Vatican statement by expelling gay Catholic organizations from parishes in Buffalo, Pensacola, Atlanta, and Brooklyn. But the fact that at least a dozen, and perhaps many more, priests have AIDS or have already died of AIDS underscores the human frailty within the Church itself. For the growing number of lay people and clergy within the Church attempting to address the AIDS crisis, that might mitigate the arrogance that leads to condemnation and enhance, instead, the humility that leads to service. PNS commentaior Bill Kenkelen. a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, wrote Ihe first national story on priests with AIDS Neighborhood Sports Sports News from Community Groups MBacchus I Takes Over Pool Lead Bacchus I replaced Mary's II as leader of the Montrose Sports Association Billiards League following play Feb. 11 Mary's II is in second and Adventurers round out the top three. The finals of The 611 tournament will be held this Saturday at The 611 Play begins promptly at 1 00 p.m. Those placing first or second in the preliminaries will be competing. BE FAMOUS. BE SEEN. ADVERTISE IN THE MONTROSE VOICE. 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