Last week we mentioned the kerfuffle surrounding Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro, the gay-friendly Catholic church that has struggled over the years with tensions between its gay parishioners, neighborhood LGBT organizations that use the church space for functions, and conservative Catholics who don't much care for gays and drag queens. The most recent skirmish involves the banning of drag queens on the premises, which new pastor Brian Costello said came down from the archdiocese and others have said that the ban is coming from the Pope himself, via new archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who takes office in October. But the archdiocese is now denying that they had anything to do with it, and that the decision was "completely up to the parish."
Costello and Most Holy Redeemer's business manager Michael Poma are also doing an about-face regarding the all-out ban, having faced heat from all sides and garnering a bunch of unwanted press attention in the last week. Poma now says, "Father Brian wasn’t educated about the importance of drag queens in the gay community. Once it was explained to him, he said they were welcome to attend as long as their behavior was church-appropriate." He says that the idea that they would make such a decision, to ban drag queens, was "obnoxious and ridiculous."
It still doesn't sound like the Castro Country Club, which said they'd be relocating their fall fundraiser in response to the ban, will be returning with Heklina for any events. The church is playing off the ban now as a decision regarding all one-time, non-church events. They're putting an end to all weddings, fundraisers, and events by outside groups, because there have been issues with non-church-appropriate behavior including a gay softball league event that involved male strippers.
The archdiocese also was careful to say that new archbishop Cordileone didn't even know about this conflict until the last few days, and that he has no power to make such decisions until he takes office October 4.
This conflict sounds far from over, however, so stay tuned.