St. Victor’s West Hollywood position on Prop 8…

…spurs lots of comments and questions.  Separation of church and state?  Parish insiders say others leaving St. Victor’s?  Why does this church in particular take a position?  Click on the comment link in the story below to view.  And please add yours thoughts too…

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18 responses to “St. Victor’s West Hollywood position on Prop 8…

  1. I live a few blocks away from St. Victor’s and I saw the display there on October 11th and I too was shocked by the hypocrisy of this church! How can a tax-exempt organization like this campaign for a political cause?? They get a free ride from the government on property taxes on condition that they NOT engage in such efforts. Has anyone considered contesting St. Victor’s tax-exempt status??

  2. This church could choose leave the politics out of their members place of worship.

  3. I’m still uncertain why it is these churches who are supporting political candidates or participating in a campaign of legalized discrimination are tax exempt. If any other organization did this the IRS would swoop in and strip them of their exemption in a heartbeat and make them pay huge penalties.

    Gary

  4. As far as I understand it, issues up for the referendum are fair game. Nobody at St. Victor’s has once mentioned a particular candidate, even indirectly. What they have said is that Prop 8 supports Catholic teaching, and reiterated that we’re obligated to vote in accordance with Catholic principles. Really don’t see how that could jeopardize the parish’s tax status…

  5. Douglas Urbanski

    So much wrong information on this site—and so much hatred of Catholics, something, alas, I am all too familiar with here in LA these days.

    1. People are shocked that the Catholic Church is being Catholic? What exactly would they like it to be?!
    2. People writing with this hatred of Catholics are in fact not Catholics themselves—so what is their issue? This information is for Catholics, for members of the Roman Catholic Church and in this case specifically for members of St. Victors. These carpers, these critics, these Catholic haters, well, they have no horse in this race! And they should stick their nose out of Catholic morality issues—unless of course they are a fallen Catholic with questions or considering becoming a Catholic, in which case there is a great deal to research and study about the matter!
    3. St. Victor’s is indeed a true Catholic Church and at the same time extremely open, loving, and diverse. But, folks, it IS Catholic!
    4. St. Victor’s is not, as incorrectly stated on this site “actively recruiting parishioners to vote for discrimination”. Such an act would be impossible, and perhaps illegal! There happens to be a legitimate ballot measure in California-which has nothing to do with discrimination—and the Catholic Church has 2000 years of theology and teachings on moral and cultural issues, of course it will affirm publicly its commitment to its beautiful faith. But there is no ballot measure in California that promotes discrimination, therefore how could St. Victor’s support one?! One ill informed blogger said that this church was “participating in a campaign of legalized discrimination”—this is of course ridiculous. As far as any educated person can understand, there is no discrimination going on here!
    5. Happily, here in the United States, Churches and religions are still free to have teachings on moral and cultural issues and freedom of speech (and freedom of thought) still exists—as opposed to Canada, and certain countries in the European Union where they are arresting Catholic priests who affirm Church teachings. But this is not to be confused with promoting politics or endorsing a political party. When there are moral/cultural issues in the news—including ballot measures—it is the Church’s sacred duty to hold its position of truth.
    6. I have seen on this site all kinds of misinformation and lack of understanding about the so called “separation of church and state.” If you want to throw that one around, then brush up on what it means. A hint: it is primarily directed at the STATE, not the Churches!! Religion has not lost its right to free speech, free thought, and free opinion—at least not yet. (At least not until an Obama administration—at which point they wish for all freedom of speech and thought will be under government control.)
    7. St. Victor’s ministers to an unusually large homosexual community. You have no idea of the tremendous amount of wonderful work done for gay men—and in particular, men afflicted with AIDS. I assist at mass there daily—and the mass I assisted with this past Sunday was virtually full. Sadly, I did encounter one very confused “so called” Catholic who ran out of the church. This individual was there very often, assisting at mass, year in and year out—did he not know the teachings of the church all that time? Did he think the church was wrong and he was right? Did he think he knew better that our Mother Church? There is a simpler way to fully understand this—and all of our individual shortcomings, sexual or otherwise—that is to accept that the Church is truth. Accept that the Church is right, AND that I AM WRETCHED, I AM WEAK. Accept our weakness, ask God for strength to face our weaknesses. Each of us must crawl in our own pathetic sinful way toward holiness. But we must NOT reject God. Even when we cannot live up to His truths, we ask him for strength and throw ourselves down to His mercy. What is so difficult to understand about this?
    8. St. Victor’s has an AIDS Chapel—possibly the first Catholic Church on earth that had such a place.
    9. I personally lost each and every one of my friends from the 70’s and 80’s to AIDS. Wonderful people, talented people, beautiful people each one of them. It gives me enormous comfort that I can be there in front of the Eucharist to pray for these men—and I know that they are grateful and in turn they pray for me. Catholics call this the “communion of Saints”—sort of—but we pray for each other.
    10. I notice that some of the complainers do not question the tax status of liberal operations where there truly IS a legitimate concern. The tax status question in this matter is not an issue, as already mentioned. The Catholic Church does not endorse candidates. I sincerely wonder how many of these same individuals would raise the truly legitimate concern of the tax violations of Obama’s church, Jackson’s, and Farrakhan’s! In these cases there truly are outrageous violations, and no one as far as I know has raised an eyebrow.
    11. A word about the Pastor at St. Victors—he is a serious, sane, smart, and deeply kind Holy fellow. This man sacrifices his entire life to ministering—at all hours of day and night, to the faithful, the poor, the dying—and all for no personal earthly gain. It is a beautiful and Holy life of charity. He can often be found at the church deep in prayer. St. Victors directly and indirectly, provides thousands of meals monthly for the poor in WEHO and Hollywood. But the man should not be taken to task for being a Catholic—in fact he is to be commended, big time. The truth is that a Pastor who ministers to homosexuals would have to be taken to task if he did not adhere to Church teaching.
    12. The Roman Catholic Church is the oldest institution on earth. It is the oldest organized religion, the oldest corporation, the oldest beaurocracy. It is also the oldest, longest lasting and richest deposit of theology in human history. On the topic of the Church and Homosexuality, I suggest one read the massive masterwork of writer Randy Engel, entitled THE RITE OF SODOMY, A HISTORY OF HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. It is about 2000 pages of very tiny print—but it is exhaustive to any who want to truly know.
    13. The Catholic Church considers that it is truth. If this offends, so be it. Jesus Christ made it clear when he said “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” He makes it very clear that this division he is talking about is the “yes” or “no” to the truth. Relativism is not acceptable. “Maybe” is not an answer. It is this division of good and evil, sin and repentance, God’s will, God’s law that we are confronting. On every page of the bible appears God’s justice and also God’s mercy. Let us pray for the latter for each one of us.

  6. I must respectfully disagree with the statement that “there is no ballot measure in California that promotes discrimination”.

    Discrimination is defined as:
    “treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit”

    So – not extending the same rights to a person based solely on their sexual orientation IS discrimination.

  7. My issue is not with the Catholic Church perse-
    My issue is this – an act of discrimination directed at a specific group of American citizens being promoted by a church. And unfortunately the subject church is St. Victors. I am sure you could walk into any number of churches on a Sunday morning – Catholic, Baptist, LDS (mormon) etc and hear this same message of discrimination. So to be fair, I take exception with any and all churches, religious organizations etc. that are taking a political stand EITHER WAY. Keep politics out of the House of God. Out of our places of worship.
    Douglas Urbanski – you eleoquently detailed where you stand on the issue and your love for St. Victors. It was beautiful to read. And I agree – Jesus did say he came to bring division. Perhaps this situation is an example of such division.
    I know which side of the dividing line I stand on. It is on the side of LOVE and ACCEPTANCE; the side of FORGIVENESS for those who knowingly or ignorantly discriminate against others; the side of DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. I believe that is the side of the dividing line that Christ would be found as well.

  8. As a gay Catholic, I have one question for Douglas; do you not recall the history of the Catholic church also insisting the world was flat?? Hmmmm….maybe, just maybe, they are WRONG about this too?????

  9. Douglas Urbanski

    Responding to Gay–if that is indeed your name–your note is hilarious! The Catholic Church never took the view that the world was flat! Hilarious! So your comment is either meant to be funny, or, on the other hand you are not educated. In the unlikely event that the latter is the case, let’s nip this kind of nonsense in the bud! This is a common danger: people spreading a lie, willingly or naively–and unfortunately other people pick up on this stuff and take it to heart.

    It is important to remember, the Catholic Church considers itself, and Catholics consider it, the final authority on faith and morals. Since it is not a fundamentalist religion (ie, it does not pick and choose everything literally, because, after all, anything, including murder, could be justified that way), but instead it considers itself for its followers as the ultimate authority on faith and morals.

    As to Beckie and a few of these others–you really need to twist yourselves into a pretzel to find discrimination here–in fact you have to completely distort the meaning of the word! Firstly, whether you know it or not, homosexuals are allowed to marry in every state in the union–nothing stops them. If this bill passes, they will STILL be allowed to marry in California. They are discriminated in no way under current law. Secondly, in your version of discrimination all kinds of people would find themselves discriminated against! Blind people are discriminated against because we don’t allow them driving licenses or to become pilots! Mentally retarded people can not become police officers! And the list goes on and on and on!! Even a basic driver’s license to everyone is not a right–nor is it a right of every citizen to vote! Driving is a privilege–it caries standards and ideals. If you don’t meet the requirements, or break the rules, you will not be allowed to do it no matter how much you say you are discriminated against! The same is true of moral and cultural issues (where, by the way the state also has a very serious interest): there are very good reasons for ideals to exist, and heterosexual marriage is one of them. If you do the reading, honestly, with an open mind–do the research, you will begin to understand. Also, in my initial posting above, I recommend a book which gives the best explanation of the Catholic Church in this regard—I urge everyone to read it and become educated before writing all kinds of things they don’t understand!

  10. I suppose we are at the point of agreeing to disagree. There has been no pretzel twisting on my part. The issue of discrimination is very clear and evident to me and many others.

    The use of the handicapped as examples of discrimintion is ridiculous. Or is the implication that homosexuality is a handicap???

    And, regarding our handicapped citizens, great efforts are taken to be sure they are NOT discriminated against. Or perhaps you are not aware of the American Disabilities Act.

    Yes, rights and priveleges carry with them certain responsibilities or those rights and priveleges can and or will be lost.

    Lets take your example of the drivers license, but replace it with Marriage. “Marriage is a privilege–it carries standards and ideals. If you don’t meet the requirements, or break the rules, you will not be allowed to do it no matter how much you say you are discriminated against! ”
    How many married people today break the marriage rules or did not meet the requirements in the first place? Since over half of marriages end in divorce, I would say that quite a few rules have been broken, and quite a few requirements have not been met. But marriage is still offered over and over to those that break the rules and don’t meet the requirements.

    Mr. Blackwell just passed away. He is survived by his partner of 60 years. A 60 year committed and loving relationship. With his partner. Not his husband. I am profoundly touched and inspired by the endurance of their relationship and at the same time broken hearted that their loving and long term committment to each other is not viewed by some as good enough to be married.

  11. I agree with Becky. It’s evident that no one’s mind is going to change on the issue here.

    Think back to other civil rights issues in history – segregation, women not permitted to vote, etc. I’m confident back then that there were people defending these discriminatory concepts as well.

    I’m just glad that many years later when we look back on history, I’ll know that I was on the side of equality, and I can be very proud of that.

  12. Douglas Urbanski notes in #12 that the Roman Catholic Church is the oldest institution on Earth.Not true,Judaism is.As a matter of fact there’s nothing original about Christianity.The Christian religion beliefs were borrowed either from pagan religions or from the Old Testament.In The Jesus Puzzle by Earl Dogherty,there is no historical evidence of jesus christ ever existing.Jesus is just a superstitious myth.
    There are many other books by various authors such as Dr.Robert M.Price who wrote The Empty Tomb or Richard Dawkins who wrote The god Delusion.

  13. Douglas Urbanski

    Responding to “David”. Let us set aside your extreme anti-Christian bias, and denial of historical fact. It is a matter of historical fact that the Roman Catholic Church as founded by Jesus Christ is the oldest institution on earth. Judaism, whatever way you slice it, was never an institution. Even if one claims that is was, even then the fact is that it no longer is the same institution. The act is that Judaism is not an institution, but rather a religion–to be specific, many related religions in fact, somewhat as the word “Christianity” is used to describe all kinds of religions that have similar, but not the same, beliefs. All kinds of different beliefs can be found in the various kinds of Judaism, but it is not an institution of itself. This is another remarkable thing about the Roman Catholic Church–the oldest institution on earth–the longest lasting institution on earth. I realize that this is not convenient or comfortable for you “David”, but them’s the facts kiddo!

    As to your propensity to those strange books you mention—there are thousands and thousands of other books you could go to that will tell you just the opposite. You will not find them as attractive no doubt, but them too is the facts!

  14. To all the disenfranchised congregants from St. Victor’s who, like me, finally realize – in the aftermath of Prop 8 – that the Catholic Church DOES NOT LOVE US, please come to the Church of the Master, a Lutheran church on Santa Monica Boulevard. The pastor there married us, and he’s a loving, intelligent man of God who cherishes the loving bonds between all couples. After mass on Sunday, 12/7/08, the pastor wants to have a discussion group addressing the film “Milk” and its relevance to Prop 8. Come! Join us. Google the church for the address. It’s basically Santa Monica and Westwood.

  15. The Catholic Church does love you, it’s you who doesn’t love them. St Victor’s stands for the Church as Christ established it without error through the ages on matters of Faith and Morals. If they didn’t, then they would be letting you down.

  16. Seperation of Church and State? Marriage is a sacrament instituted by God, and just as God established the sexes to mutually compliment each other and unite for love and procreation within marriage, governments have the responsibility to protect it. Marriage is not a right, it is a privilage. Unfortunately our society treats it only as something legal, to be disposed of at our convenience. They also seperate love from sex, sex from child bearing and all of these from marriage. Who says 2 people have to be in love to have sex. We certainly don’t need someone else to have a baby, thanks to science, we can do it on our own. I worry about our parentless children and those who are unlucky enough to not have a mother, or a father.

  17. I find it difficult to believe someone or something loves ME if it does not accept ME for who I am.
    To say “we love you but you cannot be married”, to say “we love you but you cannot adopt or foster children”, to say “we love you but you are going to hell for loving who you love”, is not really loving me.
    It is a disgrace to the teachings of Christ – love, acceptance, compassion, forgiveness –
    Further, those claiming to love ALL of God’s children, yet keeping a part of those children separate from the joys of love, marriage, fellowship etc. is a disgrace to God.

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