THE Catholic archbishop of San Francisco has answered his critics in the city's gay community by launching an outspoken attack on those committing acts of violence of any sort against homosexuals. Such actions are "absolutely incompatible with the name of Christian or Catholic" Archbishop John Quinn told a congregation at Most Holy Redeemer Church in the city's Castro district, centre to its large gay population. "Those who perform these acts of violence cannot consider themselves true sons or daughters of the Church. They make themselves the instruments of evil and enter into solidarity with the powers of darkness."
The archbishop was speaking at the end of an annual 40 hour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament dedicated to AIDS patients. He had attracted the wrath of the city's gay community for his opposition to the San Francisco's domestic partnership law which recognises gay patnerships as on an equal standing to heterosexual unions. The law is under review with a ballot of all voters in the city scheduled for November.
Last month members of the gay community protested outside St Mary's Catholic cathedral against the archbishop's stance.
Archbishop Quinn, in his Castro sermon, stressed that the high numbers of AIDS patients in San Francisco presented a challenge to the whole community. For Catholics there were "daily crises and problems to which the answer is not always or even clear to me." San Franciscans must follow a Christian calling, the archbishop said, to "match the great natural and unique man-made beauty of our city with a new beauty of the human spirit."