The gay-friendly but nevertheless Catholic Most Holy Redeemer Church on Diamond Street in the Castro, which has a heavily gay and lesbian congregation, was recently asked by the city's Catholic archdiocese to rescind invitations to three gay-friendly clergy who had been invited by the pastor to perform a series of pre-Christmas evening services. The reason? Christmas isn't a time of year when the Catholic church thinks anyone should be discussing gay themes, even if the whole room is full of gay people.

A spokesman for the archdiocese tells the Chron, "The archbishop felt the speakers were inappropriate for the season of Advent, which should be a time to reflect on the coming of Christ." But the archdiocese also admits they don't do much of this sort of micromanaging of parishes. They stepped in in this case because a conservative Catholic newspaper in San Diego caught wind of the speakers scheduled at Most Holy Redeemer and got their conservative feathers ruffled about what goes on up here in liberal San Francisco. They particularly got upset over one speaker, 85-year-old Otis Charles who retired as Episcopal Bishop of Utah in 1993, divorced his wife, and moved to San Francisco. He married his gay partner here in 2004.

The pastor at Most Holy Redeemer, Rev. Steve Meriwether, wasn't available for comment, but this isn't the first time he's caught flack from the church's higher-ups. In 2006 he was forced to go on leave after the archbishop insisted he stop allowing the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from doing their monthly bingo nights at MHR.

Just to clarify, the Catholic Church's official position on gayness is kind of like the Mormons': hate the sin and not the sinner. Being gay is sort of okay, but gay sex is not. Don't try to make sense of it. Just be glad you're not Catholic (if you're not), and if you are, well, god bless.