Pope on Gays:  “We All Need Redeeming, Don’t We?” 
His Holiness being helped during a 
Vatican-denied dizzy spell.  
Permits Jacksonville Gay/Lesbian Propaganda Outreach
Opposing Group Holds Vigil, Prays & Carries Signs at Door

A twenty-minute audience with Pope John Paul II was granted recently to Bishop John J. Snyder who presides over the 17-county Diocese of St. Augustine in Northeast Florida. 

The result of their conversation--one between religious administrators-- has been the giving to Bishop Snyder of permission to establish the second gay/lesbian outreach in a Roman Catholic diocese and on American soil. This will be an outreach program that intends to reclaim into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church all wandering, skeptical, independent-minded gay Catholics.

Lesbian and Gay Catholics, it is apparent, often feel easily estranged by the hostility lurking behind the Vatican’s “Attilla the Hun” sexual policies. Such estrangement, say critics, costs the Vatican financially, and this is why it is attempting experimental gay and lesbian outreach programs. 

Many estranged Catholics, it is now recognized, are both males and females who can no longer deny their innate same-sex affections and their loves in spite of powerfully organized Catholic opposition groups that work to assure the continuance of centuries-old second-class citizenship for persons who bond with their own gender. 

Roman Catholicism’s crusades find hosts of value-judgment missiles fired regularly into gay civil rights legislation nationwide at the same time that two “outreach groups” now operate. Some of the worst of Catholic abuses, in fact, have originated from the pen or mouth of ailing Pope John Paul II himself.

Asked by late 80s reporters if AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuals, His Holiness replied in a suspiciously evasive fashion, saying “it is not easy to know God’s intentions.”

It is due to Vatican opposition that worldwide population controls and condom distributions are regularly thwarted.

Most telling about Bishop Snyder’s audience with the head of the Roman Catholic Church, however, was the clergyman’s unembarrassed report about the Pope’s behavior as the Pontiff was compelled to face up to the Church’s latest anti-homosexual crusades, namely the loss of numberless tithe-paying gay and lesbian church-goers.

After Snyder had explained to the Pope that he intended to maintain conventional Church teachings about same-sex contact, but that he wanted to reach out to Catholic gays and lesbians and their families, John Paul II pondered the matter.

Snyder reported that he sat quietly for a few minutes, then said, “We all need redeeming, don’t we?”

Approximately 300 gay men and lesbians jammed Jacksonville’s Assumption Church last weekend.  A smaller group, according to Jacksonville’s Florida Times Union, prayed outside and held signs protesting the outreach event.

No changes in Roman Catholic Teaching may be expected by “fallen-away Catholic” attendees.  Instead there are only a Bishop’s local assurances that as long as gays and lesbians live the lives of chaste, non-sexual beings they’re welcome to gather under Northeast Florida Roman Catholic Church roofs and to take the priest-administered sacraments.  Such rituals are reported to assure eternal salvation to chaste Roman Catholic gays in the afterlife.

“What’s new about all this?” asked critics. 

Catholic gays and lesbians, they fear, seem too willing to forgive the church’s negative fulmination against gays, saying “it was kind of backward before,” remaining unaware that the Roman Catholic Church currently opposes civil rights for gays from Maine to California and in the Councils of Europe.